Homeschooling Teen

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Illinois Valley Community College

Illinois_Valley_Community_CollegeIllinois Valley Community College (IVCC) is a two-year public institution of higher learning. This commuter college is located in the small rural town of Oglesby, Illinois. IVCC sits on a charming 425-acre campus surrounded by farmland and woods overlooking the Illinois River.

Founded in 1924 as LaSalle-Peru-Oglesby Junior College, the college was renamed Illinois Valley Community College in 1966 and moved to its permanent campus in 1972. Much of the region that the college district encompasses is referred to as the Illinois Valley.

If you live in the area, and are looking for a comprehensive community college with extensive academic offerings and support, consider IVCC. It’s a good starter college for homeschool graduates because it’s small and the teachers are there to help you.

Students can save money by enrolling in a vocational program or taking half of their courses at IVCC before transferring to university. IVCC in-state tuition is approximately $8,700 and out-of-state tuition is only $9,500. Financial aid is provided to those who qualify to help with tuition costs.

Academics

IVCC serves a student body of around 5300 students. While 89% of its students attend class during the day, the college provides students with alternative academic options and flexibility. Distance learning is available to those who want to take classes online or through telecourses. IVCC also offers night courses for those whose work schedules conflict with the earlier class periods. Some of the unique courses included in these special programs include Computer Basics, Pharmacy Technician Certification, Solar Hot Water Systems, and Sports Officiating.

IVCC’s degree options include the following: Associate in Arts (A.A.), Associate in Science (A.S.), Associate in Engineering Science (A.E.S.), Associate in Arts in Teaching Early Childhood Education (A.A.T.), Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.), and Associate in General Studies (A.G.S.). The A.A., A.S., and A.E.S. degrees provide a foundation for students planning to transfer to a four-year institution. The A.G.S. is a general degree for those who aren’t quite sure what they want to do.

Many of the degrees offered by IVCC are related to specific careers. For example, the college has 23 A.A.S. degree programs which prepare students for employment upon completion of the two-year curriculum. These include Automotive Technology, Computer Aided Engineering and Design, Computer Network Administration, Criminal Justice, Therapeutic Massage, Electronics and Electricians.

In addition, 52 certificate programs prepare students for a wide variety of vocational careers upon completion of a shorter program of study which typically takes less than two years and can often be done in one or two semesters. These include Accounting, Computer Aided Drafting, Certified Nursing Assistant, Dental Assisting, Forensic Specialist, Paramedic, Truck Driver, HVAC, Welding, and Entrepreneurship.

IVCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. IVCC also “maintains a close cooperative agreement with 20 other colleges in the Illinois community college system” in case students need to take the necessary courses for their intended major elsewhere. Students may complete their degree at the appropriate institution and not have to pay any out-of-district fees.

Student Life

IVCC offers many resources for students including free tutoring, writing help, advising and counseling services. They will gladly assist students in developing an academic strategy or in determining a career path. Counseling is not limited to academic matters; students facing personal issues are also welcome to talk to a counselor. Instructors and students tutor all academic levels on a walk-in, no-appointment basis.

IVCC is a smoke-free campus with several regular classroom buildings clustered on the west side of campus, additional buildings where industrial courses are taught on the east side of campus, a library, cultural center, gym and fitness center. An on-site bookstore, computer resource lab with Wi-Fi, Learning Support Center, and day care are also available.

With over 40 clubs and organizations, IVCC provides a variety of ways to get involved. The college puts on theatrical and musical performances every year. IVCC is also home to eight varsity sports teams. For men there is baseball, basketball, golf and tennis. For women there is basketball, softball, tennis and volleyball.

Homeschool Applicants

IVCC generally offers open admission to prospective students who have a high school diploma or GED. While homeschoolers represent less than 2 percent of the general IVCC population, the broad attitude towards homeschoolers on campus seems to be one that is positive or at least neutral.

Rebekah Meyers, a homeschool graduate and Early Childhood Education major, says “I think IVCC is such a great school, especially for homeschoolers. It’s just a nice school to come to.” Meyers said she has good relationships with her professors because of her connection with her parents during her time at home.

IVCC counselor Jane Sack is supportive of homeschoolers and believes they can do well at the college. She says, “I have found homeschooled students to be generally more engaged and responsive.” Nevertheless she adds, “Homeschoolers really run the gamut; some of the issues they face are the same as general students. I just really couldn’t generalize.”

Delle Peterson is an IVCC alumna currently on faculty as an Applied Music instructor, who grew up homeschooled. Peterson feels that her time as a homeschooler actually prepared her for IVCC. “My previous high school education as a homeschooled student taught me self-motivation and discipline,” she says, “so that I found the responsibility of completing college level coursework easy.”

Professor Michael Pecherek, head of the IVCC music department, stated, “I’ve been teaching here for 19 years, and I’ve had homeschooled students in my classroom every one of those years.” Pecherek also said, “Homeschooling is a lot different now than when I first started teaching.” He explained how his earlier ideas of homeschooled students were that they would be somewhat socially awkward. He later learned that IVCC students with a homeschool background immediately began surpassing his expectations. While it may be surprising that Pecherek has had homeschooled students in his classes for so long a time, he points out that homeschooling is a long-standing educational option: “It was just reserved for the wealthy; it is only recently it became something average American families could do.” Read more at: http://ivleader.com/opinion/2016/02/18/students-make-transition-from-home-schooling-to-college

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