In addition to the work I perform for www.homeschoolcounselor.com, I also provide consulting for college admissions departments. One of the more common questions I am asked by admissions leaders is, “How can we be more successful in matriculating homeschoolers?” Pardon my cynicism, but when I hear this question, I feel as though I am really being asked, “How can my college get a lot of homeschoolers with very little money and less effort?”
I am pretty sure my cynicism is justifiable because when I point out the things colleges are doing with good success through faculty outreach, curriculum, or, heaven forbid, incorporating the classical model, the conversation usually ends.
The easiest and most obvious response any college should have to the homeschool community in its own back yard is at least a little cooperation. Most schools do not have a lot of money, but they have a staff of professors who really love to instruct. How hard would it be to offer occasional lectures to homeschoolers and homeschool co-ops in the area? Some colleges are deeply Christian and there is a lot of obvious potential for both sides to help each other that remains inert.
With all the human resources colleges have, there are certainly opportunities to partner with co-ops in the development of curriculum. This takes a little more bandwidth and would probably require the college to have homeschool instructors on staff; most Christian institutions do. Many colleges have professors who are published authors.
I realize it is difficult to convince the leadership and donors of a college to change their model. Is it inconceivable that a department within a college could change its model to accommodate the growing number of people who choose the classical model? I do not think so. Many colleges are cutting departments to save money. I think some of these closures could have been averted by switching to the classical model of education.
Every college should know that the rumor is right: marketing to homeschoolers is like herding cats. Cats do not like the concept of herding, but they might just check you out if you extend your hand.