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Penn spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy said in an email, "As a matter of practice we don't comment on individual rankings, all of which use slightly different metrics." 

Credit: Julio Sosa

More time to participate in extracurricular activities may give home-schoolers an edge in applications to the Ivy League.

Universities sometimes don't have a lot of information to go by when it comes to comparing the schooling backgrounds of home-schooled students to those who had formal schooling. As such, the biggest criteria for admissions are standardized testing, application essays and community service endeavors. But as admissions rates continue to drop, top colleges are opening up the field and becoming more flexible about applicant backgrounds, according to a press release by college consulting firm Vision Wise Consulting, and published by Crossroads Today..

Ivy League schools expect home-schooled students to “be active participants in their community”, as they are seen to have “more flexibility in their daily class schedule” in order to pursue extracurricular interests, according to the press release.

In a statement, the director of the consulting firm said that home-schooled students naturally possess an edge over high school students as they are able to spend more time on extracurriculars and better prepare for the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT.

“Traditionally they were being viewed as ‘left behind’, ‘not social’, but more and more bright students are choosing home schooling to develop curriculums (sic) that interest them, and fits their learning style,” Cohen said. “They actually have edges over students who attend traditional high school, because they have more time to prepare for SAT/ACT, AP, and extracurricular activities that colleges value.”

Research conducted by Michael Cogan at the University of St. Thomas in 2009 has shown that home-schooled students do in fact see greater academic success than those in formal academic institutions. For example, home-schooled students have an average ACT score of 26.5 as opposed to private schools students with average scores of 25.6 and public school students with average score of 25.0.

Home schooling has also seen a surge in popularity with the National Home Education Research Institute estimating that the number of children being home-schooled is increasing by as much as eight percent a year, according to Business Insider.