Can unschoolers get into college?
It’s a question I’ve personally heard many times over from countless people; friends and neighbors, even parents of unschoolers themselves. It’s a valid question and important enough that I decided it warranted some further exploration in this film. So I set out to get some answers.
Here’s what I discovered.
In June, I spent a couple of very interesting days with a young man in Berkeley, California. What’s remarkable about his story is that he had no formal education at all until age 17 when he decided to enroll in some community college courses in chemistry and biology. With his passion for chemistry fully ignited he applied to one of the most prestigious colleges in the country, the University of California in Berkeley where despite the absence of any formal education, he was accepted and is currently enrolled in a PhD program in bio-engineering and Chemical Biology.
Now he spends his time working on things like this:
Additionally, I spent some time this month with Wes Beach who has run Beach High School, an independent high school in Santa Cruz for 16 years. Wes assists unschoolers and homeschoolers craft narrative transcripts that help them apply for colleges or move on to whatever is next for them after “High School” by graduating them. He also works with any student who wants to quit traditional high school for whatever reason and move forward with their lives, and he’s been very successful, having graduated more than 1500 students many of whom have had very little formal educational experience.
All of which begs the question: What does it mean to be educated and what is an education?
As Wes so eloquently put it to me in our interview:
“Wherever it comes from – and I think it often does not come from schools in effective ways- an education is the acquisition of a set of talents and interests and skills in order to live a productive and fulfilling life.”
This month I have a couple of really important interviews with some of the nations leading experts on self-directed education and I’m looking forward to hearing from them as I delve deeper into this topic.
Thanks so much for following along.