5-Year Member
May 28, 2018
Greetings Fellow Homeschoolers:

I have a few questions about ‘Diversity Candidates’.

Are homeschoolers (HS) still considered Diversity Candidates in the US Service Academy Admissions process?

Why are HS considered Diversity Candidates (not that I’m complaining), and what does it actually mean?

In what ways does being a Diversity Candidate benefit a HS candidate in the Admissions / Nomination process?

Thanks for your time.
I don’t know the answer to your question, but DS made it his goal to be the best homeschool candidate the Academy had seen (not saying he was, but it was his goal). I think he worked extra hard knowing he had to prove he had the academic, leadership, and athletic credentials of the best public/private school candidates.
Where did you find the term "diversity candidate"? I've never seen it used in any official source. Homeschooling is certainly something taken into account when your application is being evaluated, but I don't think homeschooled applicants are highly sought after by Admissions the way underrepresented ethnic demographics are. I could definitely wrong, but I don't think it particularly helps or hurts you per se.
To my knowledge, USNA does not consider homeschooled candidates to be "diverse" for demographic purposes.

In terms of the application, it is important for homeschooled candidates to try to replicate what "typical" (non-hs'ed) candidates do, in terms of activities, sports, leadership, LORs, etc. and look for opportunities to excel across the board. IOW, being homeschooled cannot an "excuse" to be weak in certain areas.

That said, homeschooled candidates are accepted to USNA every year so it is definitely possible!
I read about it in some older posts from a few years back. I was confused by it all since homeschooling is a preferential choice and not a necessity, that's why I was asking about it, it doesn't make sense to me. When I see 'diversity candidate', I think 'minority' or 'gender' not 'method of education'.

I definitely agree with usna1985 that our choice to homeschool cannot and should not assume to be a type of handicap that deserves preferential treatment.

Homeschooling can provide significant scholastic advantages to a child, if their parents are willing to invest the time, effort and money into a very ambitious and focused curriculum that is customized to the child's strengths, abilities and goals. It's the ECAs (especially team sports) that are difficult, but not impossible, for homeschoolers to find opportunities for participation. But, that's on us, we chose this and it's up to us to make it work.
It's the ECAs (especially team sports) that are difficult, but not impossible, for homeschoolers to find opportunities for participation. But, that's on us, we chose this and it's up to us to make it work.

Well stated.

For team sports, most communities have various leagues (e.g., police, Catholic, city/county) that provide an option, especially during the summer. Certain sports such as soccer also have non-school leagues that are even more competitive than many school teams. Two major non-school ECAs are scouting and religious activities. But there are obviously many, many other activities and organizations. Remember that leadership is about what you do, not just the position you hold.

At some level, it's about homeschooled students showing USNA that you are the "same" (in that you have the same qualities and types of accomplishments) as other well-rounded candidates -- you just attend a different school.
I would think that home-schooled students are on equal footing with the 6% of applicants who receive Offers of Appointment
and the 94% who don't. ;)
Just because you read something on this forum referring to homeschooler applicants as 'diversity candidates' does not mean that the academy views them as diversity candidates. While this forum is an excellent source of information, not everything that you read on this forum is 100% accurate. And remember, there are many, many things about the application process that we, who are not on the application committee, can not possibly know. So speculation about this is rampant.

That said, my son is a cadet at WP and he was homeschooled all the way through to 12th grade. He entered WP directly from high school graduation but he did have about 30 college credits on his transcript which showed that he was academically ready for a Service Academy.
What is that supposed to mean there, @Zeus ?
This year there was a 7-day-difference between when PTR packets were received on the West coast, as opposed to the Midwest.
Gentlemen and gentlewomen, this stuff about opinion and accuracy are not on topic. Take it to 'off topic' please.
All of the SAs are much more familiar with homeschooling than they were a few years ago. That's probably both a blessing and a curse. A blessing b/c there is more familiarity with the entire process so that it's easier for them to know what to ask for, to evaluate it, and to make consistent decisions. A curse for the same reasons.:) The SAs also have had more time to evaluate how homeschoolers perform in all aspects of SA life and can adjust their future requirements/decisions accordingly.

My PERSONAL VIEW is that it's probably a bit harder for homeschooled students for a number of reasons. First, as someone above mentioned, it is more difficult to get involved in team sports and ECAs and to demonstrate leadership. Second, an LOR from teacher mom or teacher dad who teaches at best a handful of kids doesn't carry as much weight as one from an "independent" teacher who sees many students over many years. Third, there is no objective evidence of the strength of the home school, its track record in sending kids to 4-yr colleges, etc.

All of the above can be overcome and, as noted earlier, every year homeschooled candidates are admitted to USNA and the other SAs. If you are a homeschooler or parent, I strongly suggest you reach out through the HS community early (as in 9th grade) and find parents (such as the one who posted above) whose kids have successfully navigated the process. These are anecdotal experiences -- and must be considered as such -- but they will at least provide examples of how the process can work and what things you and the student can start doing now to maximize the chances of SA admission.
What is that supposed to mean there, @Zeus ?
This year there was a 7-day-difference between when PTR packets were received on the West coast, as opposed to the Midwest.
That has nothing to do with "distance from USNA" and everything to do with the Regional Structure that USNA admissions is organized under. Quite simply - different people/teams working different regions who sometimes finish at different rates/times. Maybe some other colleges have one large admissions team that processes all the "stuff" in one pile but Candidate Guidance at USNA is not set up that way.
Completely agree with @usna1985. I think it IS harder for homeschool students - and both homeschool parents and students need to embrace the challenge if USNA (or any SA) is the goal. To homeschool parents - this is NOT the time to get hung-up on your personal school philosophies. The Navy will be paying for your DS or DD to get one of the best educations on the planet and guaranteeing them an amazing career upon graduation. The burden is on the homeschooling family to show (prove) that DS/DD is every bit as ready and qualified as any student attending a brick and mortar school. So, only MY OPINION but…
  1. You are crazy if you don’t do dual enrollment. Success in a college classroom shows admissions that you can handle the rigor and schedule of college classes. And, please, don’t do online classes - these don’t show the same level of rigor and structure. DS did half of his classes junior year and all classes senior year at 2 colleges (1 community, 1 four-year). At his Plan B school he would be entering well into his sophomore year.
  2. If at all possible, do math and English dual enrollment so you have recommendations from someone other than mom and dad or a co-op mom/dad. DS had a college English professor write his English recommendation, but unfortunately I had to write the Math evaluation (DS asked admissions if his Physics teacher could write the recommendation, but the request was declined). I think the thing that saved us with the Math recommendation is that I could give USNA my credentials for teaching math AND that DS was scheduled for Calc I and II at a 4-year college his senior year (admissions followed up with DS asking where he was taking Calc I/II).
  3. You MUST do well on the ACT/SAT. These tests give the best baseline for comparing candidates academically. DS started taking the ACT in December of 10th grade to get an idea of where he stood.
  4. You MUST find a way to participate in sports. We are lucky - our state allows homeschool students to try out for public school teams. If your state is not so generous - think outside the box - call private schools in your area and ask - they may be thrilled to have another good athlete on their team. DS played a varsity sport for public school (team captain) and another sport for a private high school.
  5. I actually think ECAs can be easier for homeschooling families if you embrace the challenge. You have scheduling flexibility that brick and mortar students don’t have. Your DS/DD has to find their passion(s) and make a statement with what they do with their free time. (BGO asked DS to create a resume for their interview. As BGO was walking into the house he commented that homeschool students are getting to be more common, but ECAs are always a challenge. He sat down at the kitchen table, took a quick look at DS’s resume, and said, “Well, extra curricular aren’t a problem for you!”) Think outside the box and make your ECAs/leadership meaningful.
None of this is directed to the OP!, just my rant/opinion…Homeschoolers - the Navy doesn’t owe you anything - make them WANT you because of all the academics, athletics, and leadership you have developed. If you choose wisely, you can do AS MUCH OR MORE than your brick and mortar counterparts.

I suggest homeschoolers read Do Hard Things by Alex & Brett Harris if you want to think about possibilities rather than stumbling blocks.
Thank you Old Ret SWO for sharing the FACTS. I was going to do the same but starting with “Let me break it down Barney style for you...” how Marines talk... :D