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Getting ready for college: homeschool style.

0 Heart it! Thea Mulligan 41
September 27, 2018
Thea Mulligan
0 Heart it! 41

The transition from high school to college is quite daunting. One might think that it is even more so for homeschool graduates. After all, moving out of your home into the shoebox of a dorm room that you have to share with complete strangers can be jarring. However, homeschooled teens often are more independent and therefore better prepared for college life. So fret not. However, there are still some things you should take into account when you prepare a college-bound student for a new life.
Think about application process beforehand
Every college has its own set of rules and regulations pertaining to admission. They are usually listed on the official webpage for each college. Some of them offer special programs and scholarships, and to know about all of them is quite problematic. Thankfully, there are portals that aggregate data about all available student aid and which colleges offer it (such as CollegeExpress or FastWeb). There you can look up scholarships for minorities, for athletes, for bilingual students, talented youth, etc. Therefore, you can quickly check what your college-bound child is eligible for.

After that, you can create a short-list and vet it down to about six colleges. That includes three groups. First – so-called reach colleges. These are the colleges that are unlikely to accept you, offering lower that 30% chance. For example, MIT, Stanford, and Ivy League colleges are reach schools for everyone due to their extremely low acceptance rates. Then, there come your target colleges. These are ones where you have 30%-80% chance of gaining admission, meaning that your GPA, standardized test scores, and class rank fall within the average range for that particular school. Finally, you can have 2 to 3 safety options because you don’t want to risk getting rejected from all the schools you apply to.

Then you head to the webpages of each respective college again, and study through their requirements more thoroughly. Bear in mind that GPA and SAT scores are only two of many components that determine your acceptance. There are also recommendations, background, extracurricular activities and applications essays.

With his auntie being a writer, my nephew often tried to slither out of writing his essays and pestered me with “Can you do my assignment?” and “It’s a piece of cake to YOU”. I explained to him that although grammar and structure are very important, the personality of a writer is also crucial in grading the application essay, and he wouldn’t want to sound like me.

However, if you feel that your homeschool graduate writing skills aren’t as strong as they could be, consider enrolling in an application essay writing class. Some colleges put stronger emphasis on writing an application piece than others, some decided to drop it altogether, so the importance of the admission essay may vary. Yet rest assured that throughout the college years your child will exercise their essay-writing skills, so they would gain from coming thoroughly prepared.
Take online classes
This is normal and in most cases absolutely indispensable. For instance, I can teach many things but Science and French are not on the list (not that advanced anyway). And since my nephew’s ambition is to try for a Canadian tech college, he needs to excel in those. All I can do is to find him proper programs and tutors that would be able to shoulder the task.

You already doing a huge job, yet it does not make you less of a homeschooler if you outsource some of the classes. In fact, you can find so many useful and entertaining courses online, I wonder why people bother with public schools at all.

Alternatively, if you have a large homeschooling community in your area, you may be able to find other homeschoolers who rock at subjects you aren’t so well-versed in, and who might be willing to undertake this responsibility. I gladly teach a small group Writing and Literature, and it would be great if someone’s mom could enroll my nephew in her lab science home class.

This approach also has an added bonus: your learner will get some experience in different styles of teaching, personalities and requirements of multiple people other than yourself.
Take standardized tests
Homeschooling makes diligent and confident students. The proof of that is Michael Cogan’s study circa 2009 stating that students with homeschool background graduated college at a higher rate than their peers (66.7 percent compared to 57.5 percent). They earned higher grade point averages too! Still to get to this state of preparedness you should not neglect standardized testing.

First, it get your homeschooled student acquainted with institutional test setting that is quite different from taking a test at home. Second, this way their progress is documented and you might need those papers later as a reference. Some colleges do not accept homeschool GPA, yet your tests give a solid proof of your homeschool diploma validity.

There is another option. 15 hours of college credit validates a high school diploma. Therefore, you can go for a dual credit at your community college for the last 1or 2 years of high school.

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0 Heart it! Thea Mulligan 41
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