Last year the university began offering dedicated time for homeschooled students

For the second year in a row, Tennessee Tech University has earned the “homeschooling-friendly certification” seal from Homeschooling Parent magazine.

The designation recognizes organizations and companies’ commitment to homeschooling communities – something that Ted McWilliams, assistant director of admissions at Tech, says has been a concerted effort on the university’s part in recent years.

“We’ve had a passion to reach out to the homeschooled population,” said McWilliams. “Today, there are approximately 40,0000 homeschooled students in Tennessee and the number is growing each year. It’s becoming a population that other universities are starting to catch up to, but we’ve really made an effort to reach out on a consistent basis over these last few years.”

For McWilliams, the work is personal. He noticed when speaking to his sister-in-law, who homeschooled her children that homeschooling communities sometimes had trouble finding information about admissions requirements and did not always get the same level of outreach and support from universities that a traditional high school might receive, despite the high-quality educational background that homeschooled students often bring.

“The students are bright, they’re socially interactive and they are typically getting a rigorous education,” said McWilliams. “We decided that we’re going to reach out to these groups by social media, speaking to civic organizations, visiting with faith groups and by other means. We tell people, ‘If there are families in your area doing homeschooling, we are happy to talk with them just like we would any other school.’”

McWilliams noted that last year, the university began offering dedicated time for homeschooled students to attend its annual Upper Cumberland College Fair and meet with not only admissions counselors from Tech, but also other colleges and universities from across the state.

“We had about 26 homeschoolers from the local area,” added McWilliams. “They were so appreciative.”

Karen Lykins, vice president for enrollment and communication at Tech, said the homeschooling-friendly seal is further evidence of how Tech puts students first.

“Tennessee Tech has always been about creating an inviting, welcoming university experience for students, and we want homeschool students to know that they can be bold, fearless, confident and kind here,” said Lykins. “Many homeschooled students are making valuable contributions to this campus community while they discover what it means to live ‘Wings Up’ as a Golden Eagle. Our message to homeschooled students is that there is a place for you here at Tennessee Tech.”

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Photo courtesy of Tech.

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