Nice quote

"The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can." Neil Gaimon

College, Transcripts, Alternatives to College and Grown Unschoolers

College, Transcripts, Blake's info, etc.
Some interesting college and college related books:

Excellent blog post by Pam Laricchia titled - "What About College?":  

National Home Education Network - (scroll down to "College and Career" and "Alternatives to College" and "Books")  

Laurie Block-Spiegel's page on college (where I noticed that she wrote about Bates College in Lewiston not requiring SAT scores).

Diploma Template & High School Transcripts on Pam Sorooshian's blog (Under the "Documentation and Resources" tab)

Homeschool Transcripts (on A to Z Homeschooling's Cool site):

***Not everyone will need a traditional transcript for college. 
 You may like to read and explore links from this page to help you consider various ways to write a transcript (such as a narrative transcript) and other ways of providing educational documentation or transitioning into college. ***  (I highly recommend you look at that page!)

If you want to create transcripts, you can see the samples listed in some of the links below or use a program which will help you make them.  Creating your own transcripts is free.  Using a program typically involves a cost.

Scott Meadows (a homeschooling dad) recently asked me to share a link to his program called Fast Transcripts which costs $16/year ($12 for HSLDA members). I am listing it in case it is helpful for families who may find it convenient to use a program.  It has a feature that automatically calculates yearly and cumulative GPAs. There is a free thirty day trial (no credit card needed). 

Donna Young's site has links to sample transcripts including one from a family in Maine.  

"Opportunities After High School: Thoughts, Documents, Resources" by Wes Beach contains information about non-traditional students enrolling in community college and 4-year colleges, making transcripts (including samples), writing narratives and more.
Cost: $15 including tax and shipping.  Make checks payable to Wes Beach and mail to:
HSC Book Order
3635 Sevilla Drive
Soquel, CA 95073

Great facebook thread on UnschoolingMom2Mom (worth reading this!)

UnschoolingMom2Mom article - diplomas and unschoolers getting into college

Blake Boles website:
His books: "Better Than College" and "College Without High School."
College Without High School page:
Joyce Reed - College Goals: - I would think she would be able to help write transcripts should you wish to have them and want assistance (for a fee).  I have also heard that many people enroll in local colleges (like Rock U) and gain credits that way and then transfer their credits to a regular college.  Many colleges are now familiar with homeschooled students.  I have seen posts on "homeschool friendly colleges" as well. 

***Debt Free U - I was told this is THE book to read by someone who reviewed lots of books and has a son who just completed his freshman year in college. ***
Minerva has the book too: Click here to see Debt Free U via Minerva

I have not checked this link yet, but perhaps it is worth looking into as it is through Kahn Academy:

Link to a CBS news video about the worth (or not!) of college entrance exams like SAT and ACT:

New as of Sept 2015 from this article (towards the bottom of the article): “People who are unschooled or homeschooled,” he says, “if they’re motivated to get into college, they’re going to make it into college. With all the options that they have, they are going to do what they need to do to get admitted to their choice of institution.” Which is to say, without AP classes, extracurricular clubs, grades, or even transcripts.

Here is a post I wrote a few years ago with lots of book tittles if you want to check any out.  

I am in the process of researching colleges in the event some or all of my kids wish to go.  I  am also looking into alternatives to college in case they don't.  Here are some of the interesting book titles out there for folks interested in a college alternative or continuing to self-educate in general.  The library or Maine Cat has some of these titles and others are available elsewhere.
"The Uncollege Alternative: Your Guide to Incredible Careers and Amazing Adventures Outside College" by Danielle Kwatinetz Wood
"Self-University" by Charles D. Hayes (The Price of Tuition is the Desire to Learn.
Your Degree is a Better life.)
"Success Without College: Why Your Child May Not Have to Go to College Right Now--and May Not Have to Go At All" by Linda Lee
"The New Global Student: Skip the SAT, Save Thousands on Tuition, and Get a Truly International Education" by Maya Frost
"202 High-Paying Jobs You Can Land without a College Degree" by Jason R. Rich
"But What If I Don't Want to Go to College?: A Guide to Success Through Alternative Education" by Harlow G. Unger
"300 Best Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree (300 Bes..." by Michael Farr
This site has lots of good links for self-education:
And if someone is considering self-education a little earlier than the college years, I'd recommend this book: "The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education" by Grace Llewellyn
This one I haven't read yet....but is also by Grace Llewllyn: "Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids a Real Education With or Without School"
And if a child does want to go to college, but take a different path other than traditional school: "College Without High School: A Teenager's Guide to Skipping High School and Going to College" Blake Boles
A person named Joyce Reed (co-author with David Albert of "What Really Matters") has a company called College Goals which is a college admissions consulting practice that offers counseling to both schooled and home or alternatively educated young people from families in USA or around the globe. 

This link seems like a helpful one with good information and experiences of many people.

Sandra Dodd's links to transcripts and college
Scroll part way down to the "transcript" section.

Pam Sorooshian's family's experiences with college and where her girls are now.

I like what Sandra wrote about her son Kirby here (when he turned 18):
Monday, Sept. 16

Maine replaces GED with new high school equivalency exam
The State Education Department’s action came in response to concerns from the adult education community about readiness to move to a fully computer-based test by 2014 as would be required with the current exam provider

AUGUSTA – In an effort to better support the college and career readiness of all Mainers, the State has chosen a new high school equivalency assessment provider.

Beginning in 2014, Maine will offer the ETS high school equivalency test program, known as HiSET, which covers the same content areas as the current GED and allows test-takers to demonstrate proficiency of the academic skills expected by employers and post-secondary institutions.

“For adults without a high school diploma, earning a high school credential can open doors to more job opportunities, the potential for better earnings and the option to seek a college education,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Employers are looking to hire skilled workers, and the high school equivalency provides yet another option for Mainers to be competitive when pursuing these opportunities.”

Maine opted to move away from the GED in response to that provider’s projected three-fold cost increase and decision to deliver the new version of their test by computer only starting in 2014. Leaders in the adult education community expressed concerns that the 76 testing sites across the state were not prepared for that transition.

In addition to the new test delivery format and more rigorous questions had Maine stuck with GED, any scores from GED subject area tests taken before January of 2014 would not count toward completion, meaning students would have to start all over again.

Instead, ETS was chosen by the State through a competitive RFP process because they offered both a paper-based and computerized test. As soon as testing sites are technologically prepared to transition over to solely computerized-testing, they hope to do so, said Maine Department of Education Adult Education Director Gail Senese.

The new assessment offered by ETS will cost the State $50, but have no cost to the test-taker.  Up to two retests are included within 12 months at no additional cost.

Those who are already underway with the current GED battery will be able to integrate their sub-test scores into the new assessment, but Senese said the State is encouraging  Mainers to move forward on completion so they can move on with their employment and post-secondary goals.

“Maine DOE and local adult education program staff throughout Maine share a deep commitment to serving adult learners and providing, at no cost to test-takers, extensive test preparation and college and career advisement,” said Senese. “The move to ETS’ HiSET will allow all of us to continue our learner-focused approach and ultimately strengthen Maine’s families, communities and economy.”

While “GED” and “high school equivalency assessment” are used interchangeably, more and more states are moving away from that provider as others have entered the market. In recent months, New Hampshire, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and Tennessee have joined Maine in choosing HiSET.

Adult educators lauded Maine DOE’s leadership in seeking a new provider and their eventual selection.

“The decision to use the ETS HiSET put a lot of local programs' minds at ease and our students’ learning first,” said Maine Adult Education Association President and Auburn Adult Education Director Bill Grant.  “To go out to RFP and select ETS is a great example of the State being fiscally responsible with taxpayer funds, while ensuring education standards remained high.  The State selected a rigorous and respected test that is reasonably priced, and was mindful of the spending required by local school departments for new testing materials and technology for testing.”

For more information about earning a high school equivalency credential,

Some posts from various yahoo group threads to do with diplomas, transcripts, colleges, GEDs, and technical schools.  Note: Group members can see more replies by going to the original post and clicking on the various responses below it.      

A thread on AlwaysUnschooled about college, GED and diplomas: 

Re: Lurker with a

Posted by: "sheeboo2"   sheeboo2

Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:48 am (PST)

---my son now wants to go to a technical institute to learn a trade but they refuse to accept his *non accredited* diploma. sigh...his option is to go take the GED exam and score high enough on it to get in. This is ridiculous to there anything i can do besides make him take a GED exam? its like slapping him in the face and saying the last few years worth of work where not good enough.-----

There is a Yahoo Group called homeschool2college that may be helpful: http://groups. group/homeschool 2college/

Some community colleges will accept a student on probation, meaning they sign up for a few classes as "non-degree" seeking students and if they do well that first semester, are moved into "degree seeking" status. Another option is to ask to take the college's placement tests. I'd make an appointment to speak to the director of admissions or the registrar... .but first, maybe join the Yahoo group to get some more specific talking points.

Good luck!

Re: Lurker with a

Posted by: "Linda Wyatt"   handnheart99

Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:54 am (PST)

> I have mostly been a lurker for the most part but am crawling out
> of the wood work to ask a question. I have a 20 yr old who has
> graduated from high school. we have mostly unschooled our whole
> lives,,,my son now wants to go to a technical institute to learn a
> trade but they refuse to accept his *non accredited* diploma.
> sigh...his option is to go take the GED exam and score high enough
> on it to get in. This is ridiculous to there anything i
> can do besides make him take a GED exam? its like slapping him in
> the face and saying the last few years worth of work where not good
> enough.
> I am also worried that now because of this my husband will start to
> freak out thinking their diplomas arent valid and not good for
> anything and want to plop them all in public school.
> Any ideas or info is much appreciated! !!

It depends.
You will come across people who are stubborn and won't bend, won't
look at anything other than what they have decided to look at. Most
of these have little to no experience with homeschoolers, so they
have no idea what is or isn't "valid" and don't seem to care. They
want the right paperwork.

You may come across some who are willing to learn, to listen, and be
able to educate them a little.

Unfortunately, if the school is not willing to accept a non
accredited diploma, there is little you can do about that. Never
mind that an "accredited diploma" doesn't necessarily mean anything
at all, as far as what someone knows. Have you asked about any
placement exam options?

My oldest decided to take the GED, for reasons of his own, which he
has not shared. The other two have not taken it.

If I were in your position, I would have two conflicting thoughts
about it.

One is that taking the GED is no big deal. It's certainly better
than having to sit through 12 years of school! And they don't have
any way to know, if all they look at is the diploma, what your son
knows or doesn't know. With an "accredited diploma" they have some
idea of what subjects were taught, even if they still don't know how
well they were learned. That "unknown" of an unaccredited diploma is
too risky for some places to handle. So I understand where they are
coming from, even if I would not see things the same way.

The other thought is that I would be annoyed. How anyone can think
that a diploma really means much at all in this day and age is beyond
me. It isn't about pieces of paper, it's about what you know and can
do. Relying only on whether a diploma is accredited or not seems
ridiculous to me. If they want to see some sort of competency test,
I get that. But the GED? It doesn't really test or prove much of
anything, either.

My advice is this:
Talk to your son about what he wants to do, and what it might take to
get there. He may need to jump through some hoops.
Don't see the requirement of the GED as a slap in HIS face, but as
evidence that the place he is considering going doesn't know better,
and doesn't have any other way to evaluate people who are not in the
usual mold.
How far has he pushed it with them? Has he talked to anyone in
person? Has he offered other evidence that he knows what they want
him to know? Do you know of any other homeschooled people who have
gone to that school? Does the school know about the trend most places
have of accepting homeschoolers, and of those students doing
particularly well because they tend to be self-motivated? Support him
if he wants to go that route, and try to change their minds- but it
won't be hostility that does it, he has to make an honest attempt to
meet them where they are and help them understand who he is.

For what it's worth, I don't think diplomas are worth much of
anything. It has never occurred to me to create one for any of my
kids. I don't consider the older ones as having "graduated" from
anything. Our lives simply don't relate to that school paradigm at
all. What meaning would some sort of homemade diploma have?
Also, as much as it was pushed when I was a teen, to get that
diploma, and how important it would be, I have never, once, had
anyone ask to see it, have never been required to show it to prove I
had graduated from high school, and have no idea where it even is, or
if I even still have it.

And a more recent post about transcripts and GED and college by Linda (, a different Linda):

--- In, (snip)
> LindaI have a very basic question for you about your kids being in
> college after unschooling. How did you provide a
> "diploma/certificate of completion" and transcripts to the college
> for an unschooled child (or did you even HAVE to)?

Relatives who tell your son "you'll never be able to do XYZ without a high
school diploma" are just plain wrong. Homeschoolers (including unschoolers) do
not need a diploma - or if they do, it can be a parent-issued diploma, based on
whatever criteria you choose. Millions of homeschoolers, including hundreds (or
thousands) of unschoolers have gotten into college (or vocational schools)
without having an accredited diploma - most without having a parent-issued
diploma, since that is generally not necessary.

My son got into college on the basis of SAT scores.

My daughter chose to get a GED, which is equivalent to a high school diploma.
But that was because she didn't think she could get the score she would have
needed on the SAT or ACT, in math.

I had to make transcripts for my kids. They each attend a "community college",
but here in GA, not everyone can get accepted quite as easily as they can in
states like AZ, CA, NM, CT, TX, etc. They needed parent-made transcripts, and
the GA state college system requires homeschoolers to either get an
above-average score on the SAT or ACT, OR to get a GED.

From what I've read, most colleges these days have a process in place for
homeschooled students to apply, and they do want to see a parent-made
transcript. Most colleges also want to see SAT or ACT scores as well, but I have
read, repeatedly, for many years now, that *community colleges* in *most* states
will accept applicants without any test scores at all. Those community colleges
require applicants to take placement tests, and if they score too low for
college level work, the students must take remedial courses first, which cost
the same as college courses, but do not give college credit. Many unschoolers
have started community colleges while in their teens - or even as young as 12,
in some cases.

My daughter, who is dyslexic but loves to read (she started to enjoy reading
when she was 14) and is an excellent writer, has always had a very hard time
with math. If she were to get the requisite psychological testing for a
diagnosis, I have no doubt that she would be diagnosed with dyscalculia - and
with a diagnosis, she could get certain accommodations in college. But, so far,
she has not wanted to go through the hassle and expense of the testing. (We
could never afford it when she was younger; she could afford it herself, at this
point, so that option is open to her.)

If you have not looked into the GED option, that might be something your son
will want to consider eventually. If he decides he wants to go to a vocational
school or technical college, it may make getting in more hassle-free. It can
also help in getting some financial aid. The GED tests allow the students as
much time as they need on each test; each of the 5 tests can be taken on a
different day; and the community and tech colleges and vocational schools are
not interested in the test scores - all the GED students need is to have passed.

My daughter, who had avoided formal math learning like the plague until she was
18, took a one-semester online high school level math course (a general "math
concepts" course) when she decided that she was going to get the GED, and she
studied on her own (and with me) from a GED test-prep book and various websites.
She just barely passed the GED math test - but that was all she needed to do.
She scored very high on the other 4 tests. She had taken several online high
school courses, starting at the age of 16, including biology - which included
some basic chemistry. She never took any formal history courses, and I think she
only took one semester of high school English (lit/comp), so she mostly learned
what she knows of those subjects informally. (She took 2 years of Japanese
online, so she had the 2 years of foreign language that GA state colleges
require. But she didn't study Japanese for the requirement - she just wanted to
learn it because of her interest in Japanese anime cartoons and Manga books.)

If your son has learning disabilities, but wants to go to college anyway, I'm
sure that having a formal diagnosis will lead to him being eligible for
disabilities accommodations, which may make the difference between his being
able to get into and through college, or not.

If your son shows any interest at all in attending college, I recommend that you
look on the website of the community college and technical college nearest where
you live, and see what they require from homeschooled applicants.

If you have to make a transcript, keep in mind that you have the authority, as
the "director" of your "homeschool program" to establish your own criteria for
courses that you list. Information learned need not have been learned through a
textbook or specific online course or in-person class, nor over the period of
one school year. There are *many* branches/categories of science and history.
All reading (and listening to audio books) can be counted as literature. I even
considered attending plays as a part of my daughter's literature education. We
attended a lot of plays!

There are lots of examples of homeschool transcripts on the internet.

Lindaguitar via an individual emailI would also add that many technical colleges - like most regular colleges (not community colleges) - accept homeschooled students on the basis of SAT or ACT scores, among other criteria. 

Community colleges (not technical colleges) that accept all applicants without any test scores typically have new students take a placement test. But, as I've written before, some states, like GA, where I live (and I think Kansas and Oklahoma, among others), require that homeschooled applicants to state/public "community" colleges either get a certain minimum score on the SAT or ACT, OR have a GED. 

Having to have some kind of test scores to get into a college is pretty normal in the U.S. And technical colleges are NOT the same as community colleges. Think about MIT! Massachusetts Institute of Technology! They are not some local community college that takes anyone and everyone! Of course, not all technical colleges are at that level. Some cater to students who just have a GED. But merely requiring a GED, rather than high college entrance exam scores and an essay and a really impressive transcript or portfolio, is a lot lower of a standard than what the elite colleges require for admission!

And Lindaguitar via another individual email
There are some definite advantages to attending a community college for the first two years of college, rather than a college to which it is harder to get accepted. 
1) The class sizes tend to be smaller, so the students get more individual attention.
2) The cost is much less!
3) Students can get the basic required courses out of the way - courses that would be required at almost any college, earn their Associates Degree, and then apply to more prestigious colleges/universities as transfer students. There is less competition to get accepted to those colleges as transferring juniors than as freshmen. Once the student graduates from that 2nd college, his/her Bachelor's degree is from that college/university just as it would have been if s/he had attended that institution from the beginning.  

Also: If an unschooled young adult wants to attend a technical college that requires homeschooled applicants to get a GED, that requirement doesn't seem particularly onerous or unreasonable, to me. Thousands of adults in the U.S. get a GED every year. The prep courses, if they want to take them, are generally free. There is an abundance or free prep material online. Public libraries have the GED prep books. A person who can't pass the GED tests (even with disabilities accommodations, if s/he is learning disabled) is not likely to be able to pass college or vocational courses.

As someone else already posted on one of these unschool lists, it seems much more fair to expect an adult to spend a year or so studying for the GED tests, and the $120 or so that it costs to take the tests, than to demand that a child spend 12 or 13 years involuntarily confined to a prison-like school system, in order to get into college (or any other kind of learning/training institution).


Grown Unschoolers

Posts about grown unschoolers on Radio Free School:

"How I Ended Up As An Unschooler" (one hour and 15 min in length) - An interview with Astra Taylor, a grown unschooler and independent filmmaker.
She speaks about the politics and psychology of education, and her experience as an unschooler and an overachiever.

Interview with grown unschooler Everett Bogue:

Grown unschooler Cameron Lovejoy's book: "Mudfoot"

Three clips of families/unschoolers; two of grown unschoolers in other countries and one of Sharon Emerson's family from New York (kids were 12 and 9 at the time).

Photography articles about Lissy Elle Laricchia (Pam Laricchia's daughter) who is 20 years old (as of fall 2014).  She was one of the Flickr: 20 Under 20 award winners!: and

Misc. Articles: 
How one person got hired by Google without a degree (not an unschooler, but an interesting article):

Article about how Google is hiring more people who didn't go to college (6/20/13)
Excerpt from the article: "After years of looking at the data, Google has found that things like college GPAs and transcripts are almost worthless in hiring.  Following these revelations, the company is hiring more and more people who never even went to college."

The Colleges Where Tuition is Still Free: 

 A redesigned SAT will be given in spring 2016. There are 8 key changes to the SAT which are 
 Additional information about the changes to the SAT can be found in the following article: 

Apprenticeships Help Close the Skills Gap.  So Why Are They in Decline?  Some States Try Extending the Practice to More Professions

Gaming as a varsity sport or as a way to get a scholarship?

Early College Programs In Maine - (earn college credits while in high school):
-If your child would like to participate in the AP4ALL program, you would need to enroll with your local public school to take that particular course (just as you might enroll part time to take any public school class) and work with a trained AP4ALL teacher. 
-For the University of Maine college courses, you do not need to enroll through your public school and should contact the college directly.  

Spring 2016 article about AP4ALL (Reduced costs, etc) 

An Act To Amend Standards for Participation in Certain Public School Services by Students Who Are Homeschooled
Legislation on LD 61: 

(applicable part copied and pasted from the Homeschoolers of Maine website with their permission so you don't have to scroll down)

LD 61, An Act To Amend Standards for Participation in Certain Public School Services by Students Who Are Homeschooled - New College Class Access Law Takes Effect!

With the governor’s signature on LD 61, homeschoolers now have access to free or low-cost college courses. There are only five requirements:

1. The student’s educational program must meet Maine’s legal requirements for home instruction.

2. The college must have space in the classroom for the student.

3. The student must have completed all course prerequisites.

4. The student must submit such evidence of academic fitness as the college may request.

5. The student must receive the college’s approval of the student’s academic fitness.

The new law took effect in the 2013-2014 school year. Only courses taken within the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System and the Maine Maritime Academy are eligible. The state Department of Education pays 50% of the in-state tuition and the college waives the remainder of the tuition costs. The student may be required to pay other fees and charges.

According to Dr. Lawrence M. Rudner’s landmark study, the average homeschool 8th grader scores at about the same level on standardized tests as a 12th grader. So it’s not surprising to see older homeschool students moving strongly into some college-level classes.

Mark Your Calendar:
The New England Association of College Admissions Counselors (NEACAC) is hosting their annual 
college fair on Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 at the Augusta Civic Center from 9:00am-11:00am. 
They are expecting over 100 colleges and universities to attend. For more information, please 

College Credit offered to high school students at July YoUMA Summer Scholar Program 
College Credit offered to high school students at July YoUMA Summer Scholar Program
The University of Maine at Augusta is accepting registration for the 2014 YoUMA Summer Scholar Program, offered July 21 -- 25th from 8:00am -- 4:00pm each day at the University of Maine at Augusta.
The YoUMA Summer Scholar Program offers college credit to high school students, including entering freshmen, through a week-long summer program that provides hands-on academic and social experiences in a college environment.
This year's offerings include courses in architecture, rocketry, novel writing, acting, and Photoshop. Students will also have the opportunity take part in a various team-building exercises, networking activities and service learning opportunities.
The cost of registration is $270, which includes light breakfast and full lunch each day. Merit based scholarships are available through an application process.
For more information about YoUMA visit or contact YoUMA Program Coordinator, Jeremy Bouford at 207- 621-3062.


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