Dear Prospective Student,
Thank you for your interest in Sarah Lawrence! We are a college that is particularly attractive to many homeschooled students due to our individualized approach to education. At Sarah Lawrence we believe that there is such a thing as structured freedom, that imagination and intellect belong together, and that students learn best when studying what interests them. Students at Sarah Lawrence work closely with their faculty advisors, known as dons, to create a program of study that allows them to answer those questions that are most personally relevant to them. We do not force students to declare official majors, but instead ask that students create interdisciplinary programs so that all of their educational interests may be explored. Similarly, we do not have a core curriculum of specific required courses but encourage students to study across the curriculum.
The heart of the Sarah Lawrence academic program is the seminar and conference system. Within this system, students combine small discussion-oriented seminars with bi-weekly individual conferences, where students and teachers together plan intensive independent projects. These conference projects allow students to broaden or narrow the focus of the seminar and continuously research those topics that are of greatest interest to them.
At Sarah Lawrence, what we are looking for in our applicants reflects the goals of the college. The Admissions Committee reads each application carefully and focuses on the quality and depth of a student’s writing, as well as the degree of difficulty incorporated into a student’s educational process. Often, homeschooled students feel that college applications do not provide adequate space to reflect their own experiences and that many of the required forms do not apply to them. Let me take a moment to explain what we are looking for from homeschooled students in regard to our application process:
The personal essays required on the Common Application (which may be completed online or downloaded as a PDF and mailed in) and the Sarah Lawrence Common Application Supplement should not be a problem for a home-schooled student to complete. We do, however, require a Graded Academic Essay. Many home-schooled students do not have access to a paper with teacher’s grades or comments on it. In this case, we will accept an ungraded research or analytical paper. These are usually 3-5 pages in length. Just send us a note with your application letting us know that this is the situation.
- High School Transcript
The rule of thumb in this category is that more is better. We would ideally like to see a comprehensive lesson plan encompassing your past four years. The Home School Supplement should include texts read, papers written, projects done, internships, etc. It is most helpful when these are divided by subject (English, Math, Science, etc.), but we understand that this is not always possible considering the interdisciplinary nature of learning. For those students who are working with a home school organization that provides transcripts, this is not as much of an issue, but we would still like to see a comprehensive description of what you have done.
We require two academic recommendations from each student in addition to a guidance counselor’s recommendation. Again, if you have worked with a specific home-schooling program, the educational supervisor can often write a recommendation in place of a guidance counselor. If your parents have served as supervisors for your homeschooling, they may also write this recommendation. If neither of these situations is relevant, we will waive the counselor’s recommendation. If you have worked with tutors, you may ask them to write recommendations. Otherwise, we will accept recommendations from employers, internship or community service supervisors, or someone who knows you well in place of these. It is to your advantage, however, that the recommendations come from people who have worked with you in an academic or intellectual environment. All of the above should be accompanied by a letter explaining, if it is not readily apparent, who your recommenders are and their relationship to you.
I hope this information has been helpful and that you will feel free to call if we can be of further assistance. Rest assured that we will read your application carefully and take your specific situation into consideration. The independence and motivation you have learned as a home-schooled student will serve you well as a Sarah Lawrence student. We look forward to hearing from you.
Mary Beth Carey
Dean of Enrollment