Many parents opt to homeschool their kids, which can be easy when they’re young. As they grow and learn, however, the more practical challenges of preparing teens for college can be intimidating for some. You might not have the resources that your local high school does, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare your homeschooled senior for college. There are a few helpful tips that can guide you through the process and make the transition easy.
High schools don’t wait until senior year to get students thinking about college, and neither should you. The college search and preparation process should be ongoing during high school years so teens can start to adjust their habits, mindset and expectations to what will be required of them in higher education.
Take your homeschooler on tours of local universities when you can so they can get a feeling for what college life is like. This can serve as an inspirational trip that will help them focus over the next few years. It can also help to let them explore subjects they’re interested in majoring in. For example, if your child is interested in a business degree, find a class that teaches about sales metrics and profit margins. This can give them a taste of the subject and help them determine if it’s a good fit for them.
Public schools are structured to meet the educational requirements of most colleges and universities. When you’re homeschooling, you might not follow that same curriculum to a T. Be sure you check on the course requirements to enroll in colleges in your area and plan for your child to complete them before graduating.
The “start early” rule applies here as well. The earlier you can plan to fit in specific courses, the easier it will be for your high schooler to complete the necessary requirements. They’ll have time to spread out the classes over a few years instead of jamming them all into their final school year or semester.
Few high school students know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives, so encourage your homeschooled senior to explore different options. This doesn’t have to be just in the classroom. Joining a local club or organization can give them networking opportunities to meet traditional students and learn from them. They might even find a passion for the mission of one of the groups they join!
Aside from an educational direction, homeschooled students should also explore various scholarship opportunities. Good grades can often qualify them for scholarships directly through the university, but there are plenty of other private and non-profit funded scholarships too. The homeschool population is a niche group that can often find funding assistance targeted to their specific situation.
Let Them Guide the Way
Part of the college experience is learning to be responsible for yourself and your time. You can help your child get a headstart on developing these skills by making them the captain of their college prep. Allow them to carve out time each day to study for the ACT or SAT, research different universities and find a major they’re interested in. This helps them establish the responsibility they’ll need once they enroll.
Sometimes they might get off track, which is when you can step in as a guide. Gently remind them how important preparation is and what course of action they could take to stay on track. If you notice your teen’s enthusiasm or resolve faltering, think of something that might encourage them to keep going. Take a trip to a college out of town or schedule a meeting with an interesting professor. These things can empower them to keep pursuing their dream without you having to micromanage.
Homeschoolers face a unique situation when it’s time to enroll in college, but if you start early and prepare them for success, your homeschooled senior will be ready to move into the next phase of education.