Quick Facts about Homeschoolers and College
Many people think that homeschoolers are not prepared for college. According to research by the National Education Association, most people are concerned about the effectiveness of a homeschool curriculum and the lack of socialization. However, the facts prove that homeschoolers are often even more successful in college than other students. Many professors note that homeschoolers are very serious about learning and more engaged. Homeschoolers are usually better prepared for writing tasks and not afraid to ask for help when they need it. On the other hand, even the most successful homeschoolers need to prepare for college in the right way. College is a new stage of the education process, with new requirements and new opportunities.
How Homeschooling Impacts College
First of all, the homeschool curriculum is good for college. Although some people question its effectiveness, the truth is that homeschoolers often show better results on standardized tests and pre-college exams. Customized education makes it possible for students to better prepare for their post-secondary degree.
According to research by the National Home Education Research Institute, homeschoolers’ results on academic achievement tests are 15 to 30 points higher. In addition, students who got their education at home usually demonstrate higher scores on the SAT/ACT. Thus, there is no surprise that colleges often recruit homeschool graduates. On the other hand, many homeschoolers have problems identifying credible content and reliable sources. This problem can be solved by attending challenging courses.
One of the biggest concerns about homeschoolers is their socialization. Fortunately, the homeschool curriculum includes various extracurricular activities, such as team sports or 4H Club. According to statistics, 29% of homeschoolers are in high school and most of them participate in team sports. At the same time, the enrollment may be difficult or even impossible, depending on the laws of a particular state. The research data proves that homeschool graduates are also more active when it comes to public meetings, community service, and voting.
Advantages for Homeschoolers Going to College
When going to college, many homeschoolers experience the same problem: Most resources for applicants are intended for public school students. However, colleges know that homeschoolers differ from other students and realize that their preparation process should also look different. Therefore, admission departments usually try to help, and some colleges (e.g. Biola and Princeton) have special pages for these applicants.
Homeschoolers need to prepare for SAT & ACT tests and be ready to submit some additional tests, like SAT II. Those who cannot pass the test can start their college education in junior college. The University of Virginia encourages applicants to take courses in their local colleges, join various community organizations, and prepare academic projects that will allow admission departments to evaluate their academic performance. Dual enrollment at community colleges also allows students to save on tuition.
Sometimes, AP tests may turn out to be an advantage when applying to colleges. However, according to statistics, 38% of colleges limit the number of AP subjects accepted for credit. In addition, 86% of universities and colleges have certain restrictions regarding AP credit. Some institutions may accept only a score of 5 or 4. Anyway, AP courses can provide you with all the necessary information so that you can pass the exam easily. If you decide to take AP classes, make sure that such classes are approved by the College Board.
Tips on Switching from Homeschooling to College
Most homeschoolers lack self-advocacy skills because their primary teachers were their parents who understand all of their needs. In college, students need to be able to express their needs and understand what is expected of them. For example, students with dyslexia need more time to complete their tests or forbearance on spelling and grammar requirements for timed tests — in this case, they need to realize their needs and to talk to professors.
Most homeschoolers already know how to manage their time when they’re in high school, however, homeschooling implies a complete flexibility of the schedule, so meeting deadlines may turn out to be a challenge. It’s important to plan work and to track deadlines. If you have a long-term assignment, you can break it down into several steps, planning deadlines for each part of the big work. However, in college, missed deadlines lead to serious consequences so students need to take time management seriously, understanding that they cannot just re-write their schedule if they haven’t written a certain part of their assignment by a defined date.
Even public school students are usually afraid of public speaking, and this task becomes even more difficult for homeschoolers. Public speaking includes not only speaking itself but also eye contact and body language. Students also need to get rid of such words as “um,” “like,” “you know,” and “uh.” Even if such a task seems difficult, it’s quite possible to prepare for public speaking by joining a homeschool co-op.
Students should prepare for both untimed and timed written tasks of any kind, including essays, research papers, and email writing. It’s important to understand the difference between written and spoken types of language, as well as academic standards of writing, which are completely different from an informal writing style. Correct punctuation, grammar, and spelling are necessary for all kinds of writing, while emails also require you to be familiar with etiquette, knowing how to address instructors and other people.
Switching from homeschooling to college may be a challenging yet rewarding task. Although students need to prepare for many changes in their life, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Such a transition gives a priceless experience and numerous opportunities to learn more, improve various skills, and make new friends. Of course, most students might make many mistakes before they adapt to the new environment, but we all do mistakes, and it’s very important to never give up and not be afraid to show your strong sides.
Berta Melder is a content strategist and co-founder of the Masterra Writers. Specializing in brand management, she cooperates with different education courses covering a broad range of digital topics as a guest lecturer. Enjoys creative writing and blogging. Follow her on Twitter.