Homeschooling through high school can seem daunting for several reasons. For many families, preparing students for college is one of those reasons. Luckily, numerous resources are available to help ensure your teens are ready for college once they graduate. Here are a few tips to help locate those resources and get your teen college-ready.
Enroll in Online Classes for Special Subjects
Some college courses require a specific information base before you can enroll. In many cases, your homeschooler may have skipped classes that provide this. There are many reasons homeschooled teens may miss out, such as a lack of available community resources and the high cost of specialty tutors. However, there is also a pretty simple solution: free online classes.
Several online platforms provide access to free or low-cost classes that can help prepare your teen for the rigors of college work. For example, advanced math classes, like calculus, or science topics, including physics and chemistry, can all be taken online. In many cases, e-versions of textbooks are also available for free, so you may not have any out-of-pocket expenses.
Cover Basic Financial Education
Many young adults head off to college with little knowledge about money, spending, savings, and credit products. This often leads to opening a few credit cards and accumulating debt or blowing through monthly allowances in a week or two. It can take months for a student to adjust to the realities of managing their own money, and some college students struggle throughout their entire time in school.
Give your homeschooler a head start when it comes to managing personal finances by providing her with a solid financial education. Cover basics like saving a percentage of earnings, opening a checking account and managing the balance online or in a traditional checkbook register and applying for student loans and their eventual repayment. This knowledge will help her make sound financial decisions once enrolled in college and away from home.
Schedule Standardized Tests
While some universities have dropped admissions test scores from their application process, many still require them. So, it is a good idea for your homeschooled student to take at least one of the most common admission tests, such as the SAT or ACT.
Scheduling is often done through a local school district. However, you can also sign up directly with the testing service. The College Board handles registrations and payments for the SAT, while ACT sign-ups should be done through act.org. Once you schedule test dates, look into prep programs. There are both free and paid programs that can help your teen prepare. Also, if testing isn’t a regular part of your homeschool program, consider using a practice test so she can get a feel for the exam process.
Take College Classes During High School
Community colleges are excellent resources for homeschooling families. They offer classes that can help fill gaps and help prepare your teenager for more advanced college courses. In addition to credit courses, many also offer personal enrichment programs that can help fill elective spaces.
Homeschoolers can often take advantage of free college enrollment in places where high schools and community colleges have teamed up to offer dual enrollment options. Check with your local school system or call the community college directly to find out your options.
If there are no free courses, your teen may still be able to enroll while completing high school. While you’ll have to pay for the classes, community college tuition is usually affordable compared to the cost of a university. To avoid compliance problems, be sure to check out what is legally allowed as far as using outside instruction before your teen decides to take community college courses.
Preparing a teen for college is never an easy task, and homeschooling can add some confusion to the process. Learn about resources available to you, such as community college and free online courses, to ensure your child is academically prepared. You’ll also want to schedule standardized tests and cover basic financial management with your teenager for college success.