Entering the world of college as a homeschooler can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. You have the freedom to shape your education, but selecting the right college requires careful consideration. From submitting your application to attending your first class, this blog post will guide you through some crucial steps in the transition from homeschool to college.
Homeschool to College: Before You Get There
1) Plan Ahead and Stay Organized
If you’re interested in attending college, you should begin preparing early. Create a timeline for any tests you need to take, college applications, and any other deadlines. Keep track of your coursework, extracurricular activities, and any additional documentation that may be required.
2) Research Admission Requirements
Each college is different, so you don’t want to risk missing an important requirement that you weren’t aware of. Research colleges that actively admit homeschoolers and look for their application requirements. You can also attend fairs and workshops to learn more about each college. If you’re not able to find the info you need, reach out to admissions officers to address any concerns or questions that you may have.
3) Create a Detailed Transcript
Highlighting your academic accomplishments and making a strong first impression with a homeschool transcript is crucial when applying to college. You should provide detailed information about the curriculum you used, extracurricular activities, and any tests that you took (SAT, ACT, etc.).
Additionally, be sure to prepare a compelling personal statement in your application that highlights your personal experiences and educational goals. Use this section to showcase your unique perspective and explain why you would be an asset at the college you’re applying to.
4) Collect Non-Family Recommendations
While you may have been taught mostly by your parents, colleges are looking for unbiased recommendations. Request letters of recommendation from any teachers, tutors, coaches, or mentors who can vouch for your educational prowess and character. These individuals should know you well and be able to provide specific examples of your achievements and personal qualities.
5) Seek Guidance and Support
Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from homeschool organizations, college admissions counselors, or other homeschooling families who have successfully navigated the college application process.
Homeschool to College: When Classes Start
The following was written from the personal experience of a homeschooler who graduated from college.
Walking into the local college at 15 years old to take my first class was an intimidating experience. Having been homeschooled from Pre-K forward, I had no idea what to expect in a classroom setting, especially a college classroom. As a college graduate reflecting back, these are a few of the tips that I wish someone would have given me.
1) Don’t Forget Due Dates
A huge benefit of being homeschooled is having flexibility. While my mother would let me postpone assignments due to extracurricular activities, my professors weren’t so lenient. If your professor tells you to turn an assignment in, turn it in on time. Unlike your parents, your professors aren’t concerned about your social activities. They expect you to turn assignments in when they are due with few exceptions.
2) Your Professor Is Not Your Parent
As a homeschooler, you get used to your parents teaching and grading your work. I knew exactly what my mother looked for in my papers and would write them accordingly. However, when I turned in my first paper to my English professor, he informed me of all the errors it contained. So, I got to know my professor and what he was looking for. Just like every parent is different, every professor is different too.
If your professor has published work, consider reviewing some of their writing to get a sense of their style. Go visit them during their office hours and ask them questions. Ask them how you could have done better on certain assignments. This will help you learn more about their teaching style and will show them that you care about your work.
3) Study Groups Are Your New Homeschool Co-op
Have you ever joined a homeschool co-op? I did, and I’m thankful for it. It taught me that a lot of learning can happen in group environments. This is why study groups are so important in college. During my first year of university, I decided to take Japanese. It was a very difficult class. Joining a study group allowed me to converse with my fellow classmates in Japanese and also gave me a chance to learn new ideas from them. They helped me see things in a different way. Don’t isolate your learning; join a study group.
4) Get Involved
One of my biggest regrets in college was not getting involved more. My homeschool years were full of sports, theatre, and volunteering. However, my college years were focused on academics. In my senior year of college, I took a class that taught students how to utilize their degrees after college. That class stressed how important getting involved is. For us seniors, it was already too late.
Get involved early. Join a club, volunteer, or complete a work-study. Find things that interest you, and do them. This will not only help you to establish social relationships, which will help you learn how to network better, but it will also show employers that you are able to balance multiple responsibilities.
5) Have a Plan, and Then Have Back-up Plans
When I was homeschooled, my parents knew what courses I needed to take. My input boiled down to picking out which curriculum I liked best. In college, I had to stay much more proactive. I had to research my major requirements, figure out which classes I could take, and hope that they wouldn’t fill up before I registered. It can be a little overwhelming, so come up with a plan in advance. When course schedules are released, come up with a first-choice, second-choice, and even a third-choice schedule.
Back-up plans help for your major too. I changed majors twice during my four years, and that’s ok. Don’t choose something simply because it sounds interesting. Make sure it’s what you want, and come up with multiple plans in case you discover it’s not.
While the transition from homeschool to college may seem a bit daunting right now, the college years are a wonderful time of academic and personal growth in a young adult’s life. We hope that these tips are helpful, and we wish you the best as you embark on a new learning journey!