When parents are researching homeschool as an option they want to know if their homeschooler can eventually go to college and how it’s possible.
Homeschoolers can absolutely go to college and have a successful experience just as their peers who went to a traditional school setting.
Colleges are much more interested in the “total picture” of a student’s educational history when they apply for college. They are not looking for a specific high school or a “one size fits all” list of achievements.
The process of admissions and preparing for college is the same for homeschoolers. They neither have an advantage or disadvantage from having a homeschooled background.
Here are some steps and points to consider for the transition from homeschool to college.
Know the admissions requirements for the college of interest.
Although some colleges do have specific requests or requirements, the process is the same for all applicants.
You should be looking up the requirements of colleges of interest before your child’s graduation year. They will have a website and admissions counselors who can talk about what tests are required, transcripts, and deadlines.
Colleges are interested in transcripts, not graduation certificates.
Most colleges require an SAT or ACT score, a high school transcript, letters of recomendation and sometimes an admission essay or two. As for the SAT and/or ACT it’s a great idea to start studying sooner rather than later. Standardized tests like these can cause a great deal of anxiety and the more practice your student gets, the more prepared they will be.
Apply for financial aid or scholarships.
Making sure to apply for all eligible scholarships and financial aid is so important!
Scholarships can help with the financial burden of college expenses. Most scholarship requirements differ. Some require a certain GPA, standardized test score and sometimes an essay. Some scholarships can be kept for consecutive semesters if a certain GPA is maintained. Make sure to research all the scholarships your college, state, etc. offer, because there are more than you would think.
Applying for financial aid normally requires a FAFSA application submitted by designated deadlines.
To start the process or ask any questions you should reach out to the college admissions or registrar’s office.
Consider a community or technical college for 1-2 years of transition.
Transitioning into college is hard for all students regardless if they attended public school or were homeschooled.
It’s a valid option to stay home and attend a local community or technical college for a couple years and begin to get some general education classes out of the way.
Staying at home can help soften the transition to a university and and it is often less expensive than going to a large university right out of high school. Taking the couple years at home or close to home can benefit students and the cost of college in many ways.
Visit college campuses and review their academic options to determine if it’s a good fit.
Taking days to visit college campuses is important when trying to make a decision on what college to attend. In these visits you can get a feel of what the college is actually like and take some time to look into their different departments and majors.
Some college programs are geared towards engineering, medical studies, math, etc. If these are the majors your child is wanting to pursue, it’s great to look into institutions that specialize in those areas of study.
Get involved with campus groups to make friendships based on common interests.
Going to college is stressful for most kids, especially if they are going to a school that they don’t have many friends or any familiarity at. The most important thing to do to ensure a positive college experience is to get involved! The more involved your child gets on campus, the more friends and positive experiences they will have throughout their time at college.
Looking into clubs, groups, organizations, etc. on their campus can help them to gain friends and build new community in this unfamiliar place. When it comes to campus groups, at most universities the options are endless. It’s a great idea to reach out to the college advisor assigned to your child and ask for a list of the different clubs already on campus.
Start with a lighter course workload or subject areas that are strengths.
College courses can be very rigorous and stressful at first.
A full time course load is typically 12-15 credit hours a semester (4-5 classes). A lighter load to start helps your student find their comfort level and appropriate workload.
Having a high stress level from being overwhelmed can result in a low GPA which is difficult to come back from. Another way to soften this transition is to take courses that your student already exhibits a strong suit in. For example, if your student excels in English, but has difficulty with math, hold off on your entry level math course until second semester.