People choose to homeschool for many reasons. Maybe your parents had religious concerns about your education or the curriculum wasn’t stringent enough to meet your potential. Whatever the reason, now you’re ready for college and the change can be shocking. You’re giving up childhood friends, potentially moving away from home for the first time, and taking the first steps into adulthood responsibilities. Read on to learn four ways you can ease your transition from homeschool to college and make your time at college a success from your first class to your last.
- Learn Time Management
Many students coming from a homeschool background lack the time management skills that are necessary for college success. You may have not had a flexible schedule at home with classes taking place as time arose or as special circumstances created unique opportunities. Start now with time management to juggle your responsibilities. Start with a paper planner that will allow you to schedule out each hour of your day. On your phone or computer, set reminders to sit down and plan the upcoming month. If you take on a job that also has changeable shifts, you may need to schedule as often as every week.
Your student loans don’t disappear if you don’t graduate. Don’t let that money go to waste by failing to manage your time. Your college and your new professors don’t have an obligation to make sure you get to class and learn the material. Now it is all up to you to make your education happen.
- Up Your Classroom Skills
There are two primary classroom skills that homeschooling may have been short on, note-taking and test-taking. Taking effective notes is a skill you can learn. Watch YouTube videos that will walk you through listening and note-taking exercises. Try some free worksheets. Listen to TED Talks and watch Khan Academy videos while taking notes. Go back and review your notes a day or two later to figure out how helpful the information you recorded is. Rewriting information is one of the best ways to help it stick in your memory and notes can be invaluable when studying for exams.
Next, practice your test-taking skills. Some people may tell you they are good testers, but what does that mean? Obviously, knowing the material is the first key. After that, good testers always read the instructions thoroughly and look for cues in the test matter. Look for grammatical agreement between the question and answer, eliminate options wherever possible and check if questions build on each other. There are free practice versions of the ACT, SAT and GED online with which you can practice.
- Exercise Your Social Skills
College is about more than classes. When you attend orientation you’ll see dozens of groups recruiting for membership. Look into joining a few that interest you. College can be a lonely place, especially if you are living on your own for the first time. You don’t have the same classes with the same students and may never get to know your classmates very well at all. Start forging friendships and alliances that will help you study, give you support, and be the base of a network after you graduate.
- Connect With Your Professors
That network should also include your professors. If you’ve been used to one-on-one education, walking into a room with hundreds of other students can be intimidating and make you feel like a number. If you don’t get to know your professor, she’ll probably think of you as a number too. These professors are the same people you’ll need to write you recommendations for fellowships, grants, awards and even jobs, so take the time to get to know them. Stop by office hours regularly and stay after class if the professor takes time after class to answer questions. Become more than a number and your professors will become an ally for your success.
Homeschool to college is a leap that will stretch you academically and emotionally, but with planning and perseverance, it’s one you will bound in an easy stride.