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Home-Schooled Students Thrive at UST

The University of St. Thomas has welcomed more home-schooled students in the last five years than ever before in school history.  As home schooling has become more prevalent across the country, the contribution of these students to campus life has become increasingly apparent at UST. 

Lukas CaraLukas Cara, a sophomore and former home-schooled student, came to UST from Oklahoma to major in bioinformatics, a complex life science program that utilizes math and computer science applications to analyze vast amounts of biological information.

“I was looking for a Catholic school with a strong liberal arts core curriculum and at the same time an emphasis on the sciences,” Cara said. “I love all of my professors here; they’re very approachable.”

Cara said although his home-school science courses lacked the intense laboratory experience he is receiving now, he is excelling in the UST environment.

“I got a bioinformatics internship last summer after my freshman year largely because of the reference letters Dr. Ledesma and Dr. Larios wrote for me,” Cara said.

Arthur Ortiz, director of admissions, works directly with all home-school students as they apply for admission to UST.

“The retention rate of home-school students is exceptional,” said Ortiz. “As a cohort, their GPA tends to be about .5 higher after their first year than the rest of the freshmen. Nearly 90 percent qualify for academic scholarships, while the University average is 70-75 percent, and five of the last 15 full tuition scholarships have gone to home-schooled students.”

Alyssa KainAlyssa Kain, UST junior and former home-school student, has been welcomed on to the inaugural women’s basketball team this fall and said the UST community has been a perfect fit for her.

“I never thought I would be playing college basketball, but I was asked to join the women’s team even though I didn’t play much in high school,” Kain said. “I’m really athletic and that’s what they needed.”

Kain said that her Catholic faith has grown by leaps and bounds at UST.

“I’m really glad I came to a Catholic university because even though I was raised going to Mass with my family, I don’t think I would have kept up with the sacraments or been as faithful without the campus support,” said Kain. “Right now I’m taking moral theology with Sr. Paula Jean Miller, FSE, and I love her class. I thought I knew what it meant to be Catholic, but being in those classes has really taught me that there’s so much depth to the faith.”

Joseph JuricaLike Cara and Kain, freshman Joseph Jurica said he chose to continue his education at UST because of the Catholic campus life and the school’s openness to home-schooled students.

“St. Thomas provides an excellent atmosphere for formerly home-schooled students because it’s small enough to be comfortable and to thrive as a person,” Jurica said. “I am absolutely not having a hard time adjusting socially; I’ve been able to very easily make friends and incorporate with the community here.”

For more information about home-school admission to UST, visit or contact Arthur Ortiz at 713-525-3848 or