Preparing for higher education is stressful and exciting and requires focus, patience and determination. These are all qualities that your successful homeschooled teen has acquired throughout the many years of lessons and projects you have instructed. Now is the time to put these skills to work for your teen’s future and tackle the difficult assignment of helping your teen prepare for college.
- Get Finances in Order
Planning out how to pay for college is a crucial first step in the process of preparing for college. Student loans, scholarships and grants are all viable options for funding your teen’s degree. Many scholarships are specialized and are decided on by essays, so being able to compose an unforgettable essay is a skill that could save you thousands of dollars. Loans and grants are both common ways to pay the college bill and can even help with books, housing and other needs your student may have. Because most loans do not start repayment till after the degree is earned, your teen can focus on learning and not on how to pay the next tuition bill.
- Decide Your Future Title
Your teen is going to college to get an education for a career. It is the job that should be the end goal, so spend some time concentrating on what job title your teen dreams of having. Engineer, teacher, journalist, business owner, therapist, accountant or any other position is a great goal to have and is achievable with the right degree. You know what your teen excels at and may even have some job experience with. Now is the time to put a plan in place to make your student’s dream job within reach.
- Research Colleges for Your Program
Now that you have an idea of what job your teen wants, research what colleges offer degrees in that field. You do not pick a college for the pretty campus but for the program that fits the requirements of the degree for the career choice. Request admission information from the colleges that have the right programs. They can provide you with the tests they accept, how to fill the transcript requirements, who they will take recommendation letters from and when the deadlines are. There will be an application process that probably involves an essay, so prepare for this by having your teen write about experiences and achievements that make your student a great candidate for the school.
- Take Tests
Colleges have their preferences for which test they want results from, either the SAT or ACT, so be sure to ask for this information during your inquiries for admission. There are practice tests available online for both tests to help your teen get used to the format before taking the final. This takes patience and determination but the higher your student scores, the better the chance of getting accepted by the first choice college. The test scores may also affect scholarships and other forms of financial aid.
- Request Recommendation Letters
Recommendation letters can be from coaches, managers if your teen has had employment, volunteer coordinators or mentors. Some colleges do not require them but many do, and it is a great idea for your teen to ask people for a letter to have not just for college entrance, but for job applications in the future. Many applications ask for references and the people who your student reaches out to for recommendations could also serve as referrals if your teen presents this at the same time. Names, addresses, phone numbers and emails are often requested for referrals and are a good idea to gather with recommendations.
Helping your teen prepare for college goes beyond the tasks of deciding on a career, looking for the right program, getting the finances in order and going through the application process. It also involves building up his or her confidence and sense of adventure to take on this next phase of life with all the skill sets you have spent the past 18 years nurturing.