How to get into university without a high school diploma
Many people ask me what will happen to my kids when they reach high school age. I tell them that we'll just keep unschooling. When asked about university, I try to put lie to the myth that you need a high school dploma to take post-secondary studies.
My friend Ryan Matthews and I are putting together a list of ways to do this. They apply to British Columbia, where the provincial diploma is called "The Dogwood" but they are relevant to many North American contexts. So here, for your entertainment, are a number of ways to get into university without a Dogwood.
- Keep a portfolio of your life's work and show it to university recruiters. Most universities actively seek homeschoolers and unschoolers for their admissions. Talking with one will let you know which schools require what. Start with the Ivy league schools like Yale and Harvard. They pioneered this recruiting strategy.
- Apply as an Access Student at the University of British Columbia. As an Access Studies student you can enrol in university-level courses without registering in a degree program or undergoing the standard admissions process. You are not bound by program requirements - instead, you can let your interests guide your course selection. You may take up 24 credits, and these credits may be later applied to other programs of study.
- Take a year of college courses and transfe to university. This is what Ryan is planning to do, starting with the Adult Basic Education program at Capilano College. The program he is designing at Capilano College is fully transferable to the University of BC, and it's cheaper doing your first year at Cap.
- Write the Dogwood exam. You can always get a Dogwood. There are all kinds of programs that will upgrade your basic education and prepare you to write a Dogwood. These rarely take longer than a year, and you can do most of them while working. If you really want a Dogwood, you need to know that you don't need to spend 12 years of your life to get one.
- Apply as a mature student. At UBC you can apply when you are 23 and even though the admissions requirements want a transcript, you can provide portfolios and a written admissions essay. At Capilano college you can apply when you are 20, with even more discretion.