14 Basics of College Prep:
If your homeschooled children are planning to attend college, you may be wondering how they can go about ensuring they will be accepted… and how you should help them to prepare.
From what I am reading, more and more colleges are accepting homeschoolers....in fact, they like them!
Thanks to the dedication of countless homeschooling families before you, many colleges and universities have a high opinion of homeschooled students and value their applications.
They have learned that homeschooled applicants tend to already have the good study habits and dedication to goals that they will need to succeed in the college environment.
If college is in your children's future, their best chance at acceptance by the institution of their choice is to begin helping them prepare by the end of 8th grade. If you are already past the 8th grade, just dive in where you are.
Here are a few suggestions for college prep from my own experience:
- Begin praying together early - ask God to show your child what He wants to do through their life.
- If you haven't already, encourage your child to begin taking over the reins and the responsibility for their education and their future. Help them to think through options, but try to leave final decisions up to them. Some children love to do this right away, some are more reluctant - exercise patience :)
- Make a four year plan - this just serves as a starting place and can be changed if goals change. Records of your homeschool are especially important during the high school years.
- Stay organized! Set up files for each college you are considering, the SAT, financial aid possibilities, etc. You will thank yourself when application time comes around.
- Set high standards for your child's high school work and keep a portfolio notebook with examples of the best of their work in each course of study
- Use your curriculum's test materials - don't skip them. It's important that you know your student is learning the material they will need to know for the SAT and/or college entrance exams.
- Have them do SAT prep work - there are free online SAT prep courses and pre-tests available... do a search for 'free SAT Prep'.
- The PSAT is available in the fall of the junior year to give them a taste of what the SAT will be like and to uncover any learning gaps. The College Board has materials that you may purchase that will teach your student 'how' to take an SAT type test. Check your local library for these books as well.
OR You may find them at:
Find SAT Prep Materials in the aStore
- Your student's scores may improve if he takes the SAT twice...once in the spring of his junior year to find gaps for which he can then study over the summer… and once in the fall of his senior year… the colleges will use the higher score in each area of the test
- If your child is unsure of a direction, look for aptitude tests and books on careers and their requirements to help him think through his choices. He may want to look for a part-time or summer job when he is old enough that will help him learn more about a particular field of study and whether it interests him enough to pursue it.
- College prep will include Helping your child find colleges that provide the programs he needs to accomplish his goals, then contacting those schools through their admissions offices to find out what their entrance requirements are for homeschoolers… Do this when your student is beginning the 9th grade, so you can begin meeting their standards early enough.
- If you think that he is ready, encourage your student to enroll in a Dual Credit Program. Check with your school district to determine if this is offered in your area. This will give him experience with handling college level work and assignments which are sometimes quite demanding (depending on the course and the professor). It also gives him a jump start on earning the credits he will need to graduate from college. And best of all, the school district pays for the classes!
- Some Dual Credit students are even able to earn their AA degree by the time they graduate from high school - at no cost to them!
- Be sure the credits your child earns through the Dual Credit Program can be easily transferred to the colleges you are considering. Many admissions offices have pre-printed lists available of the transferred credits they are willing to accept. Some have a limit on how many credits may be transferred so check this out carefully.
Our college prep situation was blessed because here in WA state we have Parent Partnership Programs (not satelite or charter schools) and the one in Deer Park where we live is extraordinary.
While my daughter took part several days a week in Home Link (both accredited and enrichment classes), she and I were still totally in charge of her curriculum and her schedule. She graduated with a diploma, a high GPA, and a transcript to prove it. This was our solution, but there are others!
She did Running Start (our district’s dual credit program) for a couple of years, studied hard for the SAT and aced it, and as a result of her GPA and SAT scores and our low income, received grants and scholarships which enabled her to attend a nearby university in her field of choice - music.
I know at least part if not all of this is because God opened doors for her. He can do the same for your children…
Don't let the thought of college prep cause you to hyperventilate! You'll take it one step and one day at a time Things will come together over time and will be much simpler if you've started to prepare beforehand. Working through all this together can help you and your child forge an even closer bond as he reaches beyond your nest!
Click on the links below to find more specific help for college prep!
Testing For College
Learn how and when to take the PSAT, SAT, ACT, the Advanced Placement Tests, and how to use the CLEP tests to earn college credits.
Financial Aid for College
Learn about the FAFSA, federal and state grants, scholarships, and federal student loans. Read about our minor financial aid miracle!
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