Over the past 20 years, the percentage of Americans attending college has risen from 25 percent to 36 percent, while those with a graduate degree has gone up from eight percent to 13 percent. Most teenagers have at least a vague plan of what they want to do in the years ahead, and for many it includes attending a great college and going on to grad school before embarking on the career of their dreams. But homeschoolers often worry that they will be at a disadvantage compared with those who have attended high school.
Be prepared to be flexible
The first and most important thing to remember is not to run before you can walk. Ask a dozen happy and successful adults what they envisioned as teenagers and you will see that in the majority of cases, the reality turned out quite differently. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have a plan, but you should also be ready to think flexibly. Recent research has found that there is a disparity between teenage aspirations and the reality of the careers market – for example, only seven percent of teenagers aspire to work in the 25 highest employing careers.
One step at a time
Let’s face it, 15 is no age to be getting stressed about grad school. Tom Freston famously described the average career path as one that is crooked, winding and filled with missteps. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t walk it with care and purpose, but it does mean that sometimes it can be dangerous to look too far ahead. Focus on where you are right now and stay on your feet. Face the forks in the path ahead when you reach them.
Grad school? No bother
With both feet planted on the ground, and the focus squarely on the “now,” here’s another reason not to worry about grad school. If that really is on your path, then the fact that you were homeschooled will prove no obstacle at all. The fact is, once you get to that stage in your education journey, high school already seems like a distant memory, so where and how you received your education is of less significance. More than that, though, the fact that grad school courses tend to be heavily research-based means that your homeschooling experience will have given you the self discipline and independent study skills you need to thrive.
A changing education landscape
Technological advances and the global challenges we have all been facing over the past year or two are driving dramatic changes in education. Everyone got at least some taste of homeschooling in 2020, and it seems certain that the phrase blended learning will be core to the future of education. Whether you are talking about high school, college or grad school, those with some homeschooling behind them could be in the best position of all.