Find three colleges that have high expectations and welcome parental involvement. Make sure they require commitment to Biblical truth and Christian character, while giving their students a career education that requires half of all major credits to be gained in real-life professional activities. Finally, guarantee that these colleges cater specifically to homeschooled students. Running out of options? It’s a sad fact—you’ll be hard pressed to find even two colleges that fit the description above. Thanks to visionary founders who support homeschooling, however, there is one school that meets all of those requirements.
Patrick Henry College (PHC) is the only college in the entire nation where 90 percent of the students are homeschooled. In fact, the school’s admissions officers often have to explain that non-homeschoolers are accepted! “We’re not only aggressive about recruiting homeschool kids,”said PHC President Michael Farris. “We really try to serve the parents as well.”Recently, Farris took time to speak with TOS about the benefits of attending PHC.
We’re trying to be homeschool friendly in a complete sense,”Farris said. “We want to be a compliment to the foundation that homeschoolers have laid in this country. We’re getting homeschooled kids that have higher academic records and are more motivated [than their traditional contemporaries] on average. PHC is nice because a family doesn’t have to worry about fitting into a particular box. There are larger colleges that probably have a goodly number of homeschoolers, but none [that have] a majority.”
Like most colleges, PHC requires a SAT or ACT score from all applicants. Parents are also asked to submit a transcript or written narrative about their child’s past education, while the students must provide three writing samples. “[We ask for] three different essays,”Farris said. “[We want] a spiritual essay and one on why they feel called to come to PHC. [Finally, we ask them to] take an article out of any newspaper and talk about how a Christian worldview would affect that issue. We depend a lot on those writing samples.”
For prospective college students, Farris recommends an emphasis on writing and math. “Learn to write, learn to do math,”he says. “We don’t have math majors and a limited number of math classes are required, but there’s a correlation we’ve found between ability to do Latin or logic and math scores on the SAT. Families that stop teaching math after Algebra I are doing their kids a disservice. There are higher-level thinking skills that higher math requires… It’s an incredibly effective way of teaching logic. The stronger point is to learn to write well—good, clean, crisp writing goes far here—but the second is, don’t neglect your math.”
PHC‘s mission is to train citizens who will lead the nation and shape culture. Their passion for this mission comes through in the words of their founder. “When I was [working at] HSLDA, I was helping families hang on to enough freedom that we could educate the next generation, who I really thought was going to impact this nation. I see a lot of good kids in different situations, but there’s nothing as focused as what we’re doing here. There are 30 interns at the White House today, and 5 out of those 30 are students from PHC. If kids really want to go into high impact government positions, this is the place to be.”