Navigating the Path From Homeschool to College
Millions of students are or have been homeschooled, the product of a movement that has been around for decades, but has gained strength in recent years. Dissatisfied with their local educational choices or simply wanting to give their children an edge in life, some parents have decided that at-home schooling is the right way to go.
Once these students have finished being taught at home, many will seek to enter college. For some, this will be the first time they’ll be educated in a formal classroom environment, offering them a unique challenge. But before that can happen, these students need to apply and be accepted by a college, perhaps the greatest challenge for home-schooled families.
Let’s take a look at some steps you can take as you navigate the path from homeschool to college:
Admission Requirements — Several years before your child is done with his homeschool studies, determine if he has what it takes to further his education. If so, find out what the admission requirements are for homeschooled students. Consider meeting with an academic representative at a college of interest to your child to discuss your student’s performance and particular needs and the school’s receptivity to homeschooled students.
Take Tests — Most colleges and universities require students to take tests as part of their admission requirements. SAT and ACT are the most common though schools may weigh their importance differently. Advises the Home School Legal Defense Association to its members, “…it’s important that you begin now to equip your child with practical test-taking skills, preparing him to be comfortable with the process of taking the tests he will inevitably face.”
Keep Records — A paper trail demonstrating your child’s academic progress is essential for college bound homeschooled children. In addition to showing sample projects, you may need to supply test scores, essays and other proof of academic achievement. Worth a look: Barbara Shelton’s Ten Reason for Keeping Records.
Extracurricular Activities — One huge advantage homeschooled kids have or should have is more free time to pursue extracurricular activities. These may include youth group participation at church, hobbies, volunteering teaching other children, working with elderly people, the list goes on. Colleges are now placing a greater weight on what students do with their time away from their studies.
Student Prep — One of the reasons you’ve decided to homeschool may have had a lot to do with the educational system and all of its deficiencies. Likely, your child knows about your strong feels and may feel the same way. That can serve to hinder their interest in formal, higher education which means that you may need to show your student what benefits can be derived from attending classes in a college setting.
It isn’t too early to help plan your child’s future, including directing them down a path that will lead to college. The better prepared you are early on, the less likely you’ll have to play catch up later on.
Photo Credit: Guillermo Ossa
Adv. — Are you ready for college? Are you anticipating a funding deficiency? You can close the financing gap by choosing a Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan — explore your options here.