Grown Unschoolers' Experiences with Higher Education and Employment: Report II on a Survey of 75 Unschooled Adults


  • Gina Riley Hunter College, New York, NY
  • Peter Gray Boston College


Educational alternatives, Self-directed education, Unschooling, Follow-up study


A sample of 75 adults, who had been unschooled for at least the years that would have been their last two years of high school, answered questions about their subsequent pursuits of higher education and careers. Eighty-three percent of them had gone on to some form of formal higher education and 44 percent had either completed or were currently in a bachelor's degree program. Overall, they reported little difficulty getting into colleges and universities of their choice and adapting to the academic requirements there, despite not having the usual admissions credentials. Those who had been unschooled throughout what would have been their K-12 years were more likely to go on to a bachelor's program than were those who had some schooling or curriculum-based homeschooling during those years. Concerning careers, despite their young median age, most were gainfully employed and financially independent. A high proportion of them-especially of those in the always-unschooled group-had chosen careers in the creative arts; a high proportion were self-employed entrepreneurs; and a relatively high proportion, especially of the men, were in STEM careers. Most felt that their unschooling benefited them for higher education and careers by promoting their sense of personal responsibility, self-motivation, and desire to learn.

Author Biographies

Gina Riley, Hunter College, New York, NY

Adjunct Professor, Special Education, Hunter College, New York, NY

Peter Gray, Boston College

Research Professor of Psychology, Boston College


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2015-07-31 — Updated on 2022-09-25




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