Application Requirements

Home-Schooled Applicant Guidelines

Over the last decade, an increasing number of families have chosen home schooling for varying reasons. Home-schooled applicants, like all other students seeking undergraduate admission at Stanford, must complete the Common Application and the Stanford Writing Supplement and submit both forms by the appropriate deadline to apply for admission.

Academic Record

Primarily, we expect that you have successfully undertaken a serious, rigorous course of study distributed across the humanities, sciences, math, social studies and languages. An obvious difficulty you may face in the admission process is the lack of a conventional high school transcript. As a result, you should provide a detailed description of your curriculum, but it is not necessary to follow a prescribed or approved home-schooling program. The central issue for us is the manner in which you have gone about the learning process, not how many courses you have completed.

In particular, we would like to hear (in your application) about:

  • how and why your family chose home schooling
  • how your learning process was organized
  • what benefits accrued
  • what, if any, choices you had to make to accomplish this type of education


With little other quantitative information available, standardized test scores (SAT or ACT Plus Writing) for home-schooled applicants may take on more significance than they might for our other applicants. We require the SAT or the ACT Plus Writing, but only recommend the SAT Subject Tests. However, we have found it useful for home-schooled students to take the subject tests in order to provide some measure of relative achievement to assist us in our evaluation of your application.


Typically, we require three evaluations: two from teachers of the student's choice and one from a secondary school counselor or other school official. Your parents and/or your primary instructor(s) can write one evaluation in place of all three. While this evaluation is helpful in conveying in detail the context of your educational experience, it also lacks one crucial element: the objectivity brought by a conventional teacher able to compare one applicant with other students he or she may have taught. We do not expect parents to make such a comparison, but we do have to compare your credentials to thousands of others for whom we have an objective view. Teachers and counselors can also be biased, and this is why we ask for three letters, in the hope that each will independently verify and reinforce the others.

If you have taken a community college course or two during the high school years or have had an instructor outside your family as part of your home-schooling program, those teachers can write additional teacher recommendations and provide some non-parental evaluation.

Extracurricular Involvement

We regularly see applications from home-schooled students whose main focus of involvement is in community service, religious life, drama, sports, local politics or work, participating with a dedication and energy that we find easily comparable to conventional high school activities. We do not care which activities you have chosen; we just hope that you have made full use of your opportunities to contribute to your personal growth and sense of community.

Last update: June 17, 2014 10:02 AM