Is ADA accredited?
We are not accredited, nor do we think we should be. We agree with the conclusions of certain other Catholic educators whose commentaries can be found on the internet: accreditation for K – 12 schools ranges from being unneeded to worse than unneeded. While that may sound strong, let us try to explain.
Do you have concerns about accreditation, diplomas, and college acceptance? This article just gives our best understanding of the matter. Please let us know if we are missing something or if you are not convinced. We would be glad to hear from you.
Accreditation is unneeded
Homeschooling is growing very quickly, not only in the United States, but around the world. It is true that some countries such as Germany, with left-leaning governments, have unfortunately made homeschooling illegal. But in most countries, common sense prevails. Thanks to the drastic decline in public school ‘education’, as well as the serious problems even in private and religious schools, parents are rightfully fed up.
In fact, statistics are very healthy for homeschooling. For example, one article from the National Home Education Research Institute states:
“There are about 2.5 million homeschool students in grades K-12 in the United States (or 3% to 4% of school-age children). That is, there were an estimated 2.5 million in spring 2019. It appears that the homeschool population is continuing to grow (at an estimated 2% to 8% per annum over the past few years).”
The article concludes that, homeschooling “is now bordering on ‘mainstream’ in the United States” and that it is growing by leaps and bounds worldwide.
We’re not in the early days of homeschooling anymore…
All of this is excellent news for concerned homeschooling parents. No longer are we in the pioneer days of homeschooling when it was looked upon by some with contempt, distrust, or wonder. In those early days, many universities, colleges, and employers asked themselves, “Should we allow this prospective student to be admitted to our school? Should we hire a homeschooled person for this job? Why would we trust a bunch of parents who, of course, would give their own children straight A+ grades?” These fears and unknowns are for the most part long gone, although of course, the K-12 public school systems are still often opposed to homeschooling. (How could it be otherwise, when every student who does not enroll in the local public school usually ends up reducing that school’s allotted state and federal funding by thousands of dollars for the fiscal year?)
Thus, accreditation for grades K-12 serves almost no purpose these days. Even the accreditation firms admit that accreditation exists mostly to give you, the parent, some degree of comfort that the school you are considering is legitimate, and not a scam. But to convince yourself ADA is not a scam, we ask you to please browse our website, read our testimonials, or even signup for a sample course.
When considering colleges and universities, however, we wholeheartedly agree that accreditation firms provide real value to the parent.
But what about colleges and universities – will my student be admitted if ADA is not accredited?
Today’s universities and colleges are very familiar with processing homeschooled students, and have standard procedures set up for them. These procedures are very close to those used for students applying from brick and mortar high schools, whether public or private.
In fact, many colleges have come to even respect, appreciate, and even seek out homeschooled students. Most university admissions staff workers are familiar with statistics praising homeschooling like the following from a U.S. News article:
“Students coming from a home school graduated college at a higher rate than their peers—66.7 percent compared to 57.5 percent—and earned higher grade point averages along the way, according to a study that compared students at one doctoral university from 2004-2009.”
Universities and colleges have a vested interest in attracting the best students, since good graduates equate to a good reputation for that school.
Besides, most public colleges and universities are not going to care much about the rubber stamp of private, “Christian-based” accreditation firms they have little familiarity with. Nor does the Federal Government, frankly. We homeschooled all our children by picking and choosing our own books (we did not even use a curriculum). We then applied several times in the past for federal financial aid for our children’s college (we sent them to Thomas Aquinas College, which is a private college – cheap compared to many, but still a big price tag). Here is a screenshot of the Federal Financial Aid Application asking about the high school graduation for our children. Notice the choices are
So then, how do colleges determine if the homeschooled applicant will have brains enough to make it through their rigorous two or four year degree programs? Today, most base their acceptance decision on two key factors:
- The scores from standardized testing: the ACT, the SAT, and now fortunately, a fresh alternative to those politicized tests called the CLT (Classical Learning Test – although this much superior test is unfortunately not yet accepted everywhere – check carefully with your student’s prospective college or university!)
- The homeschooled student’s high school transcript. Colleges care about which courses were taken and the grades awarded. Standardized tests do not test for everything. It is thus very important that the parent can provide a professional and carefully formatted high school transcript and diploma (such as our ADA transcript and ADA diploma). These documents should provide all the information the school needs, including the grades awarded, the final gpa (grade point average), and the method used to determine that gpa (e.g. weighted, unweighted). Some schools will even look for the “extras” like extracurricular programs of music, drama, and sports to a certain extent. This is an additional incentive to get your children involved during their high school years. The ADA transcript has an area in which parents can add these items.
Still not convinced? Have doubts about your child’s chances with colleges and universities?
Sometimes no amount of persuasion can convince like a real experience. Try this. Pick up the phone and call the university you and/or your student is considering. Ask for the admissions department – get a real admissions counselor on the phone. Ask the counselor to describe the school’s acceptance policy for homeschooled students. If they say anything substantially different than what we are saying on this page, we beg you to let us know. There may indeed be some schools out there that insist on accepting only students who attended “accredited” high schools. But they will certainly be the exception.
Accreditation can be “worse than unneeded”
There are a few reasons that accreditation can even be considered a bad thing.
Accreditation indirectly imposes government standards on Catholic schools
First, accreditation – when all is said and done – usually forces private schools like ADA to conform to government standards and views in education. This happens because a school like ADA must seek accreditation from government-approved accreditation boards. These private accreditation boards then investigate the school’s curriculum, and make their decision on whether or not to award accreditation based on a comparison of that school’s curriculum with the state standards in which that school exists. For example, since ADA is a Kansas corporation, an accreditation board would compare our suggested courses with Kansas standards. This may not only be non-applicable (since you may not live in Kansas), but more importantly, this comparison pressures schools like ADA to conform to Kansas minimum standards. While that may not sound bad – “Hey, what’s wrong with standards?” – yet the reality is that government standards of education, with their ever-changing, politically correct standards and latest fads in education, often require courses like “health” and “physical education”. This means that precious educational time slots in the student’s schedule must be devoted to such things, whereas the student might have instead taken meaty and worthwhile subjects such as logic or advanced topics in the Catholic Faith.
Accreditation needlessly increases costs and bureaucracy for everyone
Second, accreditation requires a significant and unneeded financial investment by a school such as ADA to undergo both the development costs and the actual hiring of an accreditation board. These costs can range up to fifty thousand dollars! We pass those savings directly to you, the parent, by pricing our courses as reasonably as we can.
We hope all this relieves you of any concerns. If you are still concerned, we suggest you call the admissions offices of a few colleges and ask them how they process the applications of homeschooled students. We are confident that almost all will not demand that the homeschool be accredited.