George Mason University welcomes applications from students who have been homeschooled or who have pursued pre-college educational opportunities that may not be accredited.
Such students will be reviewed in the same holistic manner as those who apply from traditional high schools, and there are no special additional requirements that must be met for consideration. However, we would like to clarify a few points that we feel will be beneficial for home-schooled applicants.
- Please ensure that you have completed (or will complete) the minimum preparatory course work required for admission before enrollment at Mason. You cannot have required coursework outstanding upon entry to Mason.
- We understand that in many instances homeschooled students may not have a traditional, “official” transcript. However, in order to evaluate your preparation for higher education, we require some form of transcript. Your home educator can prepare this document. Ideally, we expect to see a listing of courses completed and the grade earned. In the event that we need additional information, an admissions representative will contact you. If you are unsure how to prepare a proper transcript, please see the guidelines provided.
- There are many approaches to a homeschool instruction, including: a set curriculum, a parent-created curriculum, co-op programs, dual enrollment, etc. To aid in the review of your application, a thorough description of the curriculum used in your education is strongly encouraged.
- If you utilized a set curriculum, please include information on which program and the years it was used. It should be noted if this is an accredited program.
- For parent-created curricula, please provide a syllabus that includes the information taught for each class and the benchmarks of success or how mastery of the material was measured.
- If you participated in a co-op for classes, particularly those with Honors or AP designation, please provide the co-op information and a syllabus if available.
- For dual-enrollment classes, please provide a transcript from the college the classes were completed at in order for those classes to be factored into a weighted GPA.
- You will note that a “Secondary School Report,” which usually accompanies a school counselor recommendation, is one of our requirements. While a parent or guardian may complete the form, we ask that you solicit a recommendation letter from someone outside of your immediate family who can attest to your academic achievements and abilities.
- Official ACT and/or SAT scores must be sent to the Office of Admissions directly from the testing agency. As of yet, we do not accept the Classic Learning Test (CLT) in lieu of the SAT and/or ACT. Homeschooled applicants are eligible for Score Optional admission.
- Homeschooled students also have the option to self-report their scores during the admissions process. Guidelines on the submission of self-reported scores can be found under the freshman admissions requirements.
- If you have enrolled in or will have completed dual-enrollment college coursework prior to high school graduation, be certain to indicate this on the admission application and have official transcripts sent to the Office of Admissions when you apply. All dual-enrollment students are considered freshman applicants regardless of the number of college credits earned while in dual-enrollment status.
In addition to your standardized test scores and high school transcript, it is important for homeschoolers to include letters of recommendation (do not send one from your parents or family members) and your resume. Extracurricular activities are also beneficial to demonstrate active engagement outside of academics. To make yourself more competitive for the Honors College and University Scholars, you should challenge yourself with advanced classes. We recognize it can be difficult to access advanced classes, so dual enrollment classes through a community college are a viable alternative to IBs and APs. Finally, while Mason will not accept the CLT in lieu of the SAT or ACT, if you have taken it and feel it is an indicator of your academic achievement then you may add those scores to your Honors application.
Homeschooled students will be reviewed in the same holistic manner as traditional students for entrance to the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). For students interested in Performing Arts (music, theater, dance, etc.), bear in mind that auditions are typically required. For the Visual Arts (Art, Computer Game Design, Film and Video Studies, etc.), portfolios are accepted and required in some cases. However, these are not expected to be full, professional portfolios, but a form of creative output. Both auditions and portfolios should be completed in tandem with your application to Mason; i.e. if you apply Early Action, you should begin the audition process at the same time. You can refer to the CVPA website for full audition and portfolio requirements, deadlines, audition dates, and more information about the programs. Please feel free to contact Christina Badalis (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any CVPA questions.
Homeschool applicants to the College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) are reviewed in the same holistic manner as traditional applicants. As such, one of the two following admissions criteria must be met in order to enter a declared major within CEC, with the exception of Information Technology. Applicants who do not meet the CEC selective requirements will be reviewed for admission as Engineering, Undeclared.
- For applicants submitting test scores: a score of 550 in the math subsection of the SAT or a 24 in the math subsection of the ACT.
- For Score Optional applicants: completion of at least four years of high school math upon enrollment at Mason with grades of A/B in each math class. This includes taking a course beyond Algebra II by senior year.
While it is not a requirement, it is advisable to complete a Pre-Calculus or Calculus class before enrolling in the CEC. If these courses can be completed at a community college, it will be beneficial to homeschooled students to ensure they are fully prepared for the engineering coursework.
Homeschool applicants who apply by the Early Action, November 1st deadline are eligible to be reviewed for merit scholarship, including those who choose to apply Score Optional. In order to present a competitive application for merit scholarship, you will need to demonstrate exemplary academic achievement throughout all four years of high school and complete advanced coursework to bolster your record. Some examples of advanced coursework are: Honors classes completed through a co-op or accredited program; AP or IB classes taught by an accredited program; dual enrollment classes completed with a community college or university. Courses completed through any of these methods should be notated on your high school transcript, along with the accompanying curriculum information outlined above.
High School Transcript Guidelines for Homeschooled Students
The base of a college application is the high school transcript. If you are not enrolled in an accredited program that provides an official transcript, one will need to be created. George Mason University does not have a single format in which to submit a high school transcript. Parents of homeschooled students can create one or a transcript service can be used instead. For example, both the Home School Legal Defense Associate (HSLDA) and the Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) have transcript services. If you decide to create one, here are some guidelines of what it should contain to ensure the admissions committee can easily understand the documents.
- Contact information- The transcript should contain the name, address, email, and phone number of the student for ease of contact.
- If you are using an accredited program with a dedicated academic counselor, please list the counselor’s contact information should questions about the curriculum arise. In lieu of a traditional counselor’s information, the parent who should be contacted with questions regarding coursework should be included as well.
- It is not necessary to include the student’s social security number on the transcript.
- There are two standard ways to display your classes. The first is a subject transcript, which groups your classes spanning all of high school according to subject matter (English, math, science, history, foreign language, electives, etc.). With the second method, which George Mason University prefers, classes are divided by which grade they were completed in (9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th). If high school level classes were completed in middle school, they should be labeled as such.
- Next to each grade (9th-12th), include the years in which they were completed.
- If a class is an Honors (H), advanced placement (AP), international baccalaureate (IB), or dual-enrollment (DE), that should be noted on the transcript. The grade earned, whether a letter or numerical grade, should be included with each class.
- Do not forget to include in-progress coursework for senior year. If a grade has not been earned yet, input IP.
- The transcript should include a cumulative count of credits completed.
- Cumulative GPA- While you can calculate the cumulative GPA by yourself, it is typically easier to use an online calculator to ensure accuracy. Courses are typically assigned one credit per class and the calculator will add .5 extra credit for Honors classes, and 1 extra credit point per AP, IB, and DE class. One site you can use is: http://gpacalculator.net/high-school-gpa-calculator/. You can also calculate a yearly GPA and add it to each year.
- Expected date of graduation- this is important particularly if the student is finishing outside of a traditional May/June graduation. If graduating late, the expected date of graduation will avert any confusion and the Office of Admissions will know that the student is still a freshman applicant.
- Homeschoolers have the option of including extracurricular activities as a part of the transcript packet, listed on the application itself, or on a resume. Whichever medium is used, homeschool applicants should list all activities completed outside of academic coursework to present a full picture of who they are.
- Some extracurricular examples are: community sports teams; music and dance lessons; volunteer activities; work experience; participation in an academic co-op; 4-H; Boy and Girl Scouts; etc.
Meet Your Counselor
Senior Regional Admissions Counselor
Favorite thing about Mason: There's no box you have to fit into to be a Mason Patriot because of how diverse we are. Anyone can feel welcomed and be a part of our community!
Advice for students getting ready to apply for college: Your college essay, whether it be written or a video, is your best chance to make your voice stand out in your application, so don't pass it by. Don't be afraid to showcase your personality and give us a chance to really get to know you, quirks and all.
Favorite Washington, D.C. or Northern Virginia attraction: The Smithsonian Zoo.