The Final Year of Homeschooling and College Planning Help
Nothing is more exciting and perhaps scary is the last year of homeschooling and college preparation, right?
For any parent its a bittersweet time; more so perhaps for homeschooling parents, the hours and hours we invested in our children's education and growth will finally come to an end, as our children go onto the next phase of their life.
Navigating your way through the college admissions process can also bring a sense of uncertainty as you wade your way through college information, paperwork and forms.
But like raising a child, both homeschooling and college admissions get a little easier with experience.
Earlier this year, we began the college preparation process with our oldest, and so far, it's really no big deal - so don't worry! :)
Homeschooling and College Preparation
While homeschooling high school, you will want to spend adequate time preparing for college, if that's the next step in your child's educational career.
If your child has a future occupation in mind, college planning is a little easier. If not, explore some career possibilities based on your teen's interests, strengths or gifting.
Find out what high school courses your student will need to complete to get their high school diploma and apply to his/her college of choice. We follow our state's highschool diploma requirements to prepare our children for the next phase of their education, but some families do not and graduate their kids when they think they are ready for post secondary learning.
It's amazing how early "experts" recommend you begin college preparation. I just read an article in our local paper and they are encouraging students in eighth grade to start planning for college!
I really do believe our society puts too much pressure on our kids. As a result, our kids can never be kids. As a homeschool parent we can shield our children from unnecessary pressure and help eliminate needless stress.
Take time to learn about different careers, take notice of your child's strengths and interests, but leave the college planning until they're older.
When Should You Think About College?
A good time to begin the college planning process would be the sophomore or junior year of college. College applications, entrance exams, financial aid and scholarship forms need to be submitted (during your student's senior year, or earlier) so don't wait too long. Depending on where you want to go to school, or your career path, you could miss important deadlines and/or opportunities.
College Fairs – Maximize Your Time
Grab your college-bound homeschool teen and attend a local college fair. Attending a college fair is a great way to learn about many different colleges and universities at once; you will also save lots of research time.
Usually local community colleges, etc. host a day each year when reps from post-secondary institutions around your state and the country come to showcase their school. You and your student will be able to ask questions, find out admission requirements and create a plan for your high school home education.
It can be completely overwhelming going to your first college fair. Try to get a listing of colleges attending and do some research on the ones you are most interested in. Make a list of all the colleges you want to visit at the fair first, so you make the most of your time and don't wander around aimlessly.
Homeschooling and College Admissions
Due to the growth of homeschooling, you will find many colleges readily accept and accommodate homeschooled students. While searching potential colleges for my children, I came across many institutions who gave specific application instructions for homeschoolers, making the admissions process easier.
The Application Process
The first thing you want to do when starting the college admissions process is visit the prospective college's website.
Find the Admissions Link. Your homeschooling high school student will be a prospective undergraduate, so look for information on undergraduate degrees. Colleges provide information for a variety of people: students, parents and guidance counselors.
As a homeschooling parent, you will get a good understanding of the admissions requirements and process by reading through all the provided information... remember, not only are you an educator, you are your student's guidance counselor too! :)
Make a list of all documents and requirements needed for admission.
For example, the following needs to be submitted when applying to Harvard:
- $65 Application Fee or Waiver
- Harvard Supplement – additional questions or requirements
- SAT I or ACT
- 3 SAT II Subject Tests
- Secondary School Report and Mid-year School Report – because you apply to schools before getting your final grades, schools may want to receive a report or two to keep up to date on how your student is progressing in their final year of high school.
- Two Teacher Evaluations
Depending on your course of study, additional documentation or samples of your student's work may need to be submitted to the school as well.
It's always wise for homeschooled students to contact the admissions office to see if you will need to submit additional credentials, etc.
College application forms are somewhat tedious and time consuming, but not difficult to complete. You will find typical questions about you, where you live, your student's plan of study, and one or two essay questions that help the college know more about your student.
When submitting your application, you will need also to include an application fee. Application fees vary depending on school from $25 to $65 and up; make sure you find out before submitting your paperwork.
Additional Questions and Essays
Most colleges give you an opportunity to tell more about yourself. You will often find an area where you can provide additional information about yourself, your accomplishments or your education goals.
Your student will most likely need to submit an evaluation form from one (you) or two teachers who have taught them.
Grab a calendar and write down all application, entrance exam deadlines, that you will need to meet during the year. Some forms will need to be submitted at different times during the year.
Enjoy the homeschooling and college planning process with your student. Although it can be stressful and time-consuming at times, it will soon be over and graduation day will be here.
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Maximize your time and reduce college expenses while working on your high school diploma at home!
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Helpful Homeschooling and College Planning Resources...
To help you with your last year of homeschooling and college planning, read some great books, talk to those who have gone through the process and ask questions! Find some Helpful Homeschooling and College Planning Books written by experts and homeschool parents just like you! :)
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Navigating the homeschool high school years and applying to colleges after homeschooling, causes most of us to feel a little uncertain.
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