Having been homeschooled from the second grade through high school, I know personally what a wonderful experience it can be to be taught by one’s parents in a warm, loving, and supportive environment. Many homeschool parents may be nervous about their children’s ability to thrive in a college environment away from home, but, as a CBS article indicates, homeschooled children tend to perform even better than their non-homeschooled counterparts. Still, making the transition to a radically different learning environment is no easy task. Here are a few things to consider as your children prepare to apply to college.
1. Thoroughly research schools that most fit your child’s interests, beliefs, and personality.
One of the biggest mistakes that parents and college-bound kids make when looking for schools is that they consider only brand names like Harvard, Stanford, or well-reputed state schools. This search method completely neglects to take into consideration various other factors that contribute to a successful collegiate experience such as geographic location, particular academic strengths, availability of certain extra-curricular activities, as well as religious beliefs. Decide which of these factors are most important to you and your child and make a list of five to seven schools.
2. Call or email each school on the list and determine what their application guidelines are for homeschooled children.
Different schools have different requirements for homeschooled children. You can be sure that they will ask for standardized test scores, a personal statement, and more than likely a few letters of recommendation. Some schools require that homeschooled applicants take the GED in lieu of a high school diploma. Be sure to keep track of each school’s requirements.
3. Ensure that your child will be able to secure letters of recommendation from adult mentors well before the application deadline.
Most students who attended a traditional high school can easily secure letters of recommendation from teachers. For homeschooled students, however, finding recommenders can be a bit more complicated. The best recommendation letter sources for homeschooled students are adults who can comment on the student’s talents, abilities, and values. These include pastors, coaches, or other extra-curricular instructors like music teachers. Make sure to request these letters well before the application deadline.
4. Spend considerable time studying for standardized tests.
For most universities, there is no magic formula that will get your child into the college of his or her choice. Admissions committees look at a bunch of different qualities that are revealed in the personal essay, recommendation letters, and more. Still, for homeschooled students, it is especially important to do well on standardized tests like the SAT and ACT, since admissions committees have no recognized standard of academic performance by which to judge your homeschooled child. Spend several months studying for these tests, and remember that these tests don’t necessarily test intelligence; they test how well your student can take a standard test. As such, practice is the key to a good score.
Getting into college is really the biggest hurdle in the entire collegiate experience. Once your child is accepted by several schools, try to visit each to determine which school fosters an environment where your child will thrive. Good luck!
This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online college about education, college, students, teachers, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @ gmail.com.
Q4U: Have something homeschool and/or organization related to share with my readers? Wanna be a guest blogger? Let me know; I've got some open spots in the next few months!