Every step along the way towards graduating from high school can be tough for homeschooled children. The move towards college can be scary for both parents and students as there are several choices to make regarding the subjects to be studied and where to study. The rise of online learning means homeschooled students have the chance to begin their college career earlier than those attending the traditional public education system. Alongside the many choices available for choosing the correct subjects, all students need to have the right life skills to achieve their best at college.
1. Don’t be Defined by Age
The traditional public school system has always defined achievement through the age of students. In the homeschooling sector, age is a guide to the abilities of a student but does not define their position as a learner. Learning can take several forms and provides students with the chance to explore college-level classes at an earlier age. A homeschooled student can begin their move towards college when they feel they have the required skills to tackle a subject area. Traditional students wait until the end of high school to begin their college classes and spend more on their education as a result.
2. Apply for Scholarships
The Financial Aid process can be scary for parents and students, who want to limit their debts. The cost of college continues to rise, alongside the interest rates charged by student loan providers. Searching for scholarships can be done by subject area or through general funds. The Nancy Etz Scholarship is a good example of a private fund established to help students reduce their financial burden. The Nancy Etz Scholarship offers a $1,000 financial award to a student to put towards the cost of college tuition. Finding and applying for scholarships in plenty of time before attending college helps students take ownership of the process of applying for college.
3. Use the AP Program
Straighter Line recommends exploring the opportunities offered by the Advanced Placement, AP, program. The AP program allows students in traditional and homeschool environments to learn at an advanced rate. The AP program allows students to choose the classes that interest them and earn credit towards their college career. Online learning has opened up the AP program to millions of homeschoolers around the nation to improve their abilities and learn at their own pace.
4. Test Regularly
Homeschool reports a common mistake among homeschool parents is not testing their children regularly. Each year, students in traditional school environments sit through tests and exams to determine their level of progress. By allowing a homeschooler to take these tests once a year, or more, the college of their choice will have a record of their progress. Trying to claim a place at college without any form of an official transcript or progress testing will be almost impossible.
5. Prepare for College Entrance Exams
In the past, homeschooled students felt they were at a disadvantage when trying to pass their college entrance exams. The PSAT, SAT, and ACTs are well-known and can be prepared for online. The ability to study for these tests online is readily available, with homeschooled students able to subscribe and learn at their own pace. Being prepared for testing by undertaking the latest college entrance exam practice programs, every student will be able to prepare fully. The ability to learn at home is being enjoyed by students at all levels, regardless of whether they are studying at home or school.
6. Visit College Campuses
If parents want to be sure their children are prepared for college and excited at the prospect, visiting a college campus can make every student feel excited about the future. Each time a student visits a college campus, they can discuss the courses and activities on offer with faculty members. A student who has visited multiple college campuses will have a better understanding of what the future holds and what they can expect during their college career. All students are nervous about the change in life that accompanies attending college for the first time, regardless of whether they are homeschooled or attend traditional schools.
7. Apply to Community College
Applying to college does not need to be the first step into the higher education sector. Instead, students can look to undertake a dual-enrollment course at a community college. Completing dual-enrollment classes at community college provides a cheaper option than fully online homeschool learning and counts towards college credits. The other benefits of community college include the ability to sample campus life at a small scale close to home. Preparing a student for college is about making the right choices, which a community college course usually is.
Being prepared for college is a difficult task for students and families in all learning environments. Stepping forward into a college career is a time of change and fear, which parents can help their students.