By Nick Maker
For a homeschooler it’s a very new experience to transition from your home – where all your life you’ve been learning from your parent or online teacher – then go face to face with an actual professor and students. It will be a whole leap in social life! I will give my experience during my registering for college and hopefully help calm the butterflies in your stomach if you are going from homeschool to college.
After the May graduation celebration, I knew I would have to start registering for college as soon as possible. The first thing I learned was that I need to take a placement exam. It is not a pass/fail test, but to place me in a specific class that my scores validate. Now there are ways to skip the placement exams just by taking the SAT test during high school and if you score higher, some universities would even take you already without the pre-test.
When I did the tests my score didn’t quite meet the college requirement; it wasn’t “terrible” but it was few points away. At first my parents suggested for me to take the pre-courses to “get an easy start.” Well, let me tell you from my personal view. College will get difficult anyway once you pass the pre-classes, and if you really don’t want to “take it easy” because you know the stuff and you want to take it anyway, re-test it! Don’t feel the pressure of your parents advice for you to pull back just because you are nervous you might fail the first semester.
Everyone is nervous in the first semester; that is why during orientation they say they will help you and even place a class to overcome the first semester. If you really feel you don’t know the subjects, do the pre-courses, but if you actually know the subjects but fail a few points, study them and try your best. That’s what I did, I know the stuff but I’m not good as a first time test taker, but during my second test I passed all the subjects.
There will be other requirements to enter college but it depends on the college, like vaccinations which aren’t hard to get since you can get them at your local CVS or Walgreens for a cheap price. Orientation I think is always a requirement, and I will advise you to take it; it gives you the layout of the college campus and the people will advise you with tips on what you will be doing in college. You are an adult now and it is your responsibility to finish your homework and be on time; there is no “excuse” note or anything, unless you have a really good reason to skip class, ask the teacher because the penalty will affect you.
I will also advise you to take a college preparation course before class starts because that will help you get used to the feel of people being around you to interact with. I know that is hard for me, I am an introvert and having a group of “young adults” do wild things I just shiver at the idea, but trust me – I heard common words from famous psychiatrists saying, “get out of your comfort zone” – otherwise you will have social struggles in real life. Most of the time you have to at least talk to people about work-related stuff to finish a project. I was nervous when I first signed up for the summer “fun” course but I know this will build me with experience in the long run. Who knows, maybe I’ll have fun after all and be bunked with someone with the same degree as I’m going for.
The recommended number of courses depends on your time but usually a full-time student is around 12 credits (that’s usually around four classes). I will take 8 credits (three classes) because some subjects will be harder for me in my ability, so for just this semester it will be three classes. But if all goes well the next would either be four or five classes, depending on other activities. I will advise you to take some extra fun activities to socialize or at least build some reputation around campus – trust me, it will come in handy on your résumé.
The community college that I signed up for is flexible on their time when registering for college. Of course after you sign up for it you need to take it, unless maybe they would allow changing the schedule or cancelling a class and replacing it with a different one. Don’t feel pressured if you have to take full-time courses because your college requires it. Just take what you are most capable of and see if you can find an easy class to take.
I recommend preparing all of this before summer hits. Since school will start in August I assume most of you already got it done but if not, apply for the spring semester. That way you won’t miss specific classes you want to take, or if you’re a night person that would work too! So if you miss the fall semester don’t worry, there is a spring semester you can take or there is late class registration, sometimes even some classes you can take if you miss registering for college right away.
I also recommend in my personal experience to take community college, not only for saving money but for the first college taker. Once you finish the first two years in community college, I recommend transferring to a better college which is the university to finish your four year plan. Once again, not only money-saving wise, the community college you will stay at for the next two years will be an experience – reputation builder is how I like to coin the phrase – because universities will take your résumé of how you spent college there and you have a higher chance to enter a better university, maybe even a scholarship if you complete some activities during your two years.
That is all the firsthand experience I have had registering for college as a high school graduate going from homeschool to college. Good luck in college!