MANASSAS, Va. – Homeschooled students tend to achieve a high degree of academic success in college, and often outperform their peers, argue several administrators from faithful Catholic colleges recommended in The Newman Guide.
The experience of these administrators with homeschooled students correlates with a 2013 study—conducted for the Journal of Catholic Education—which found significant evidence of higher ACT and SAT scores and overall GPAs for homeschooled students who attend a Catholic university. Marc Snyder, assistant head of school for students at Rhodora J. Donahue Academy in Florida, conducted the study by surveying students attending Ave Maria University.
The study’s sample population was composed of 33.6 percent homeschooled students, 34.8 percent Catholic high school students, and 31.6 percent public high school students. It found “a positive and significant difference between homeschooled students and public schooled students.” Homeschooled students apparently “outperformed traditionally schooled students on two of four measures,” indicating “that homeschooled students are academically valuable to the university,” according to Notre Dame’s Cardus Religious Schools Initiative.
“Homeschooled students are invariably among our better students, and as more enroll, experience continues to confirm this,” said Dr. David Williams, interim vice president for academic affairs and associate professor of theology at Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C., in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. “The average range of ability tends to be higher among homeschooled students who study at [Belmont] and compares well with the very best of public and privately-schooled students.”
“We’re always pleased with our homeschooled students,” Williams told the Society. “Not only do they tend to be among the best academically, but they also possess a great deal of initiative and eagerness to participate in the college community.”
Dr. Stephen Shivone, interim assistant dean for academic affairs and assistant professor of English at Belmont, said, “Homeschooled students almost always write and read well” and “tend to be more engaged and active in conversation.”
Tom McFadden, vice president of enrollment at Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., affirmed the Cardus study’s findings and shared the College’s own positive experience with homeschooled students.
“Christendom has always been a top choice for homeschooled students because, in general, it seems these students tend to be natural leaders, are self-motivated and driven to perform with little supervision, while at the same time, [they] are expected to work hard and pursue a challenging academic program,” he explained. Christendom’s program is well-suited for homeschooled students as it “requires self-motivated students who want to succeed in their academic pursuits,” McFadden observed.
Dr. Joshua Hochschild, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., provided additional statistics to the Newman Society.
“We have found overall that homeschooled students enter the Mount with higher standardized test scores, about 60-70 points higher on SAT scores, and maintain higher GPAs,” he stated. “We also found that they’re more likely to persist in their education.” Homeschooled students are 8 to 10 percent more likely to remain at Mount St. Mary’s to complete their degrees, Hochschild disclosed.
Families that homeschool are especially attuned to certain aspects of education. They know the importance of a coherent curriculum and the importance of choosing one. They know about the importance of personal attention as teachers. They understand the culture-building dimension of learning—that it’s not just about information, but about being formed as a person within the culture.
Belmont Abbey College, Christendom College, and Mount St. Mary’s University are recommended in The Newman Guide for their strong Catholic identities. The Cardinal Newman Society’s 2015 edition of the Guide was launched alongside Recruit Me, an innovative program that lets students sign up so that the recommended colleges can compete for them.