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Homeschool Students Part of Campus Diversity

UC Riverside Welcomes Homeschool Students

A new program allows admission through an assessment of a student portfolio

(November 18, 2005)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- In November, as applications start pouring into the University of California system, UC Riverside will become the first UC campus to specifically recruit homeschooled and other nontraditionally educated students.

UCR will offer a Web site and an admissions process that includes a faculty review of a portfolio of the student’s projects and curriculum.
The campus’ effort kicked off with an information workshop for interested families Saturday, Nov. 12, on campus. The event drew more than a hundred people.

“UCR is interested in students with high levels of achievement, promise, and contribution,” said LaRae Lundgren, director of admissions. “"We are looking for creative ways to discover these students.”

She said actively recruiting nontraditional students fits with UCR’s profile as a place serving a diverse population. The same portfolio review process can handle students who come from small charter schools, which might not have all the resources of a large comprehensive high school.
The effort at UCR started at the request of several faculty members familiar with homeschooling.

“Among the homeschool community, we find large numbers of students who are smart, mature, creative, independent and well-socialized people,” said Frank Vahid, a professor of computer science who has three children who are homeschooled. “We want such excellent students in our classes. They have a lot to offer the university community.”

And as a parent, he said, it is exciting to see a recognized public research university not only accepting homeschool students, but actively recruiting them. “I think this will be a very welcome development in the network of families in California who are homeschooling their children,” Vahid said. “Most universities have not yet recognized the importance of that group.”

The U.S. Department of Education reports that 1.1 million, or 2.2 percent of all students, are homeschooled in the nation. While some private colleges have recruited homeschooling families, UCR would be among the first public research universities to do so.

More information is available on the Web, at:

Admissions Q & A

Q: How does this change UCR policy?

A: For decades, homeschooled students have been able to come to UCR if they have met a "by examination alone" standard. For this coming application season, the change will be the option for a "portfolio review" by a faculty committee. Homeschoolers will have the opportunity to show their curriculum, their projects, and other documentation of their education. The committee of faculty members will be able to decide whether the student has been well-prepared for the University of California.

Q: Can you guess how many homeschooled students will be admitted as a result of this recruitment effort?

A: For this season, a good outcome would be to have about 50 students admitted through the homeschool application process. Of course the more qualified students we find, the more successful the program will be.

Q: How will the recruitment process work?

A: We are holding an information session at UCR from 9 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday, Nov. 12, on campus that is open to anyone wanting more information about the process. Also, we have been making a concerted effort to reach homeschool families through Web sites and Web logs. For example, if you search on Google for "UCR, homeschool" there are significant numbers of Web sites that are letting people know about the program. One specific site is
Also, And don't forget the Web site at UCR:

Q: Is this a pilot program for the whole UC system?

This is an independent project, based on a request from UCR faculty members. Homeschool students deserve a chance to be considered for the UC system and accepted if they are qualified. Since other high school students have their transcripts to show that they took the required courses, homeschool students should have a chance to show what kind of work they did during their high school years. “UCR is interested in students with high levels of achievement, promise, and contribution,” said LaRae Lundgren, director of admissions. “"We are looking for creative ways to discover these students.”

Q: What is the best way to describe who is eligible for the portfolio process?

A: UCR is looking for students who have had rigorous preparation in English, math, science, history, foreign language and the arts, something approaching the requirements you see in the A-G listing here:
a. History — 2 years required
b. English — 4 years required
c. Mathematics — 3 years required, 4 years recommended
d. Laboratory Science — 2 years required, 3 years recommended
e. Language Other Than English — 2 years required, 3 years
f. Visual and Performing Arts — 1 year required
g. College Preparatory Electives — 1 year required

Professor Frank Vahid notes that even if a homeschooled student has not studied all the subjects listed, they should still apply. It is the portfolio review that will help the committee determine the breadth and depth of the education. So for instance, if a homeschooled student did not study a foreign language, but studied particularly deeply in another subject area, the faculty committee will look at the whole picture to decide if this student can be successful at UCR.

Q: How does UCR define "Other Nontraditionally Educated Students"?

A: Students who did not complete a traditional high school curriculum and do not have a way to show their completion of the "A through G" subject requirements for admission to the UC. One example might be a student who studied online through a charter school. But there are probably many other specific examples.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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