Tips for Home Schooled Students
Princeton welcomes applications from home schooled students. Although they still make up a very small portion of the applicant pool, applications from home schooled students have been increasing. Among the home schooled students admitted in recent years was a student who graduated as valedictorian of the Class of 2002.
We recognize that your experience as a home schooled student will be somewhat different from students in traditional schools. We'll look at your academic record and non-academic interests and commitments within the context of your particular home school curriculum and experience.
We understand that for many home schooled students there is not as clear a distinction between academic and non-academic activities as there might be for students in a traditional high school. The more you can document for us and describe what you have done during your high school years, academically and otherwise, the better. Feel free to go beyond the questions on our application forms if they don't cover everything you think is important for us to know. There may also be questions that simply don't apply in the case of a home schooled student (for instance, our question about class rank on the Secondary School Report). You and others completing forms on your behalf may leave those questions blank.
Below are some tips addressing aspects of the application process that may be somewhat different for home schooled students. Before you begin preparing your application, we encourage you to review our publication Ready. Set. Go. (.pdf), which contains detailed information regarding Princeton's application process, standardized testing requirements and financial aid program. Also see the Common Application Home School Supplement (.pdf). If after reading these documents you have additional questions, we encourage you to contact our office. If you are a home schooled student living outside the United States, please also see our information for international applicants.
It's most helpful if your teacher and counselor references come from three different adults who can comment on your intellectual curiosity, academic preparation and promise, and extracurricular involvement. Some home schooled applicants ask a parent to complete the Secondary School Report, and they ask others who have known them in an academic context to complete the teacher references. If you have taken any high school or college courses, or had a teacher other than a parent in a particular subject, we encourage you to ask those professors or teachers to write your teacher references.
Academic Preparation and Transcript
In general, we look for students who have challenged themselves with rigorous study in a range of academic areas during their high school years, but the exact course of study varies among our successful applicants.
Please provide us with detailed information about the academic program you have pursued. If you aren't able to provide a traditional transcript of course grades, include an outline of your high school curriculum. Many home schooled students also send us a reading list. If you have taken any courses at a school, college, online or by correspondence, please be sure to have official transcripts sent to the Undergraduate Admission Office. Learn more about academic preparation.
SAT and ACT
All applicants, including home schooled students, are expected to take the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT (with Writing, where offered), and two SAT Subject tests. While only two subject tests are required, some home schooled students choose to take more than two to further demonstrate their academic breadth in the absence of traditional grades. In addition, some prepare for and take Advanced Placement (AP) tests in subjects they have studied at an advanced level.