I went to one of the top U.S. high schools, Stuyvesant High School in New York City, for two years. In November of my junior year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I started homeschooling myself—not to escape school, but to return to school.
Back in 2019, when I first arrived at Stuyvesant, I realized all my academic skills flowed from my prior education. I could manage my time easily, write satisfactory essays with minimal effort, and generally get homework and classwork done much more quickly than my classmates. This was due to the practice and background knowledge I had accumulated in grades K-8. I was so well prepared for high school, and I want to be just as prepared when I get to college where I’ll have a wider variety of opportunities.
I’m Creating My Own Path
I plan to take advantage of those opportunities—that’s why I am creating my own path tailored to my future education plans. I realized that once I disenrolled from Stuyvesant, I would no longer be bound by their Advanced Placement caps, which restrict the number of AP courses and exams students can take, limiting the number of credits with which they will be able to start college. After I left, I was able to select which AP exams to take, in part, by looking at the AP credit tables of various colleges to maximize transferable credit, while still studying subjects that interest me. And being a homeschooler opened up the opportunity to take AP exams at multiple schools, even in the same year.
By leaving Stuyvesant, I freed up an incredible amount of time in my schedule. So, although while I was at my old school I was technically eligible for College Now—a free, dual-enrollment program open to New York City students—taking courses there only became viable once I left and had control over my time. Now, I can take one College Now course from a CUNY college every semester, earning credit for free. Most of the courses they offer are introductory courses and colleges are more likely to transfer any credit earned.
Additionally, every student enrolled in a College Now course is given a CUNYfirst account which, in addition to letting you access the student portal for viewing your grades and assignments, also grants access to many online databases and journals. Combined with my Stuyvesant Gmail account, I have access to more academic resources than I ever had while I was in a traditional school. I get a few of the benefits of being a high school student, as well as those of a college student.
Because I now direct my own education, once I’m accepted into college in December I will be able to customize most of my final year of school to whichever college I’m going to attend. I’ll be able to select AP exams in accordance with the college’s particular transfer credit policy and prepare myself for whichever courses I anticipate being the most challenging. I’ll be in control of my senior year and able to fully prepare myself for college.
As a homeschooler, I don’t have to sacrifice my time or academic freedom to prepare for my future. I’m saving time in high school and saving time in college. It is possible to have it both ways. With the AP credits I’ve earned, there are colleges where I could start with a semester’s worth of credits already logged, or even as a sophomore.
Homeschooling was the best decision I could have made for my schooling. I wouldn’t have been able to do everything I’ve done over the past year and still get enough sleep every night if I had stayed at Stuyvesant and followed their plans for me. Instead, I made my own plans and I control my education. There is no practical reason why anyone should have to choose a single school when it’s possible to choose “all of the above.”