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Homeschooling high school is a big deal. Knowing how to Navigate the College Selection Process as a Homeschooler can boost your confidence as you start this part of your homeschooling journey.
Our students are leaving behind the early years of schooling.
They’ve passed through the middle years.
Which can often be challenging.
Right? Because middle school.
But, then comes high school.
The full on teen years.
The transition from tween to young adult.
The stepping back and being less directive.
And more supportive.
Being the mentor.
And guiding our teens to the next phase of learning.
Which could be college.
How do we help our high schoolers to navigate the college selection process?
You’ll need some tools for the job.
Determine College Criteria
The place to begin. Or how to start getting your teen to narrow down to some choices.
- Location– This could refer to area of the country or general region or distance from home. Does your teen want to go far? Stay close? Does it even matter?
- Available Resources– along with location, can you get home? Can you get to a store? Is there transportation if your teen won’t have a car? What is nearby?
- Environment– does your student prefer an urban or a rural setting? Urban campuses are different from rural ones and require a different set of skills for navigation once there.
- Programs– focus on colleges that have the best programs for your teen’s area of study. They don’t all have to be the best, but the larger or more prominent the program is, the more resources they will have which may be important when it’s time for the next launch.
- Variety of Programming– schools that are good all around are a nice choice since your teen may change his mind sometime during their four years there. It’s also good for those who aren’t sure what they are studying just yet.
- Cost– Even if you apply to a big tuition school, your teen might want some more reasonable alternatives. Keep in mind that even if you don’t think you can afford a school, you may be surprised in the end. Don’t count any school out before it’s time!
- School Affiliation– Does your standard include Christian affiliation? or another foundation? That will knock some schools off the list right away.
Both of our teens were able to narrow their search just by determining that they did not want to be on urban campuses.
Once they added their desired area of study, the list got much smaller.
Take the Time to Visit Colleges
Visit college campuses. Learn how they are alike and how they are different. Visiting is important for several reasons.
- Provides Vision– seeing a place and imagining life there, is an important step. This is especially true if your teen has not spent time on a college campus.
- Compare Schools– Once you have visited one, visit another. Not every campus is alike. Your teen might find one appealing and another not at all.
- See the Environment– is it a place where your teen thinks they can live for four years immersed in study?
- Shows Interest– taking the time to visit the campus, take the tour, and ask the questions, lets the admission office know you are genuinely interested. In the end, your admission may depend on it. Show you want to be there!
Resources for Homeschoolers to Research Colleges
Mostly, we’ve used some mainstream resources for high schoolers not necessarily homeschoolers.
- The Common Application– This is a fantastic place to accumulate information about colleges in one place. You can start an account as a high school junior and only apply to the colleges you choose in the end.
- SAT– Information on the test and college information along with practices for all the SAT related tests such as the PSAT and subject tests.
- ACT– Not only do they provide testing, but also resources for college searches and information on the selection process and career assessments. As a parent, I get a lot of emails which are helpful especially for parents new to the college scene.
- Internet Searches– related to the field of study that most interested our students. A simple search might lead your teen to a place she’d never thought of.
More High School to College Posts at Blog, She Wrote
We’ve been teaching high school in our home for five years. We reached a peak of three high schoolers and a middler schooler last year. At the time of this writing, our oldest is on the way to Purdue after a medical gap year and our current high school senior just finished her application process.
These are some things we’ve learned along the way.
How to Make a Four Year Homeschool High School Plan– How to meet with your high school student and come up with their four year plan for high school. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, but going in prepared is useful even if you end up making changes.
Earning Credits with a Project Based High School– How to get credit for the non conventional learning courses and activities in your high schooler’s life.
Preparing for College Made Easy: A Guide to the Common Application– Your one stop resource for researching colleges and eventually applying. This post takes you through what I learned about using the Common App over the last several years after using it twice.
Homeschooling for College by Design eCourse
- college essay help
- dual enrollment tips
- transcript advice- with a bonus custom transcript builder
- detailed tutorial on The Common App
- how to apply to competitive programs
- financial aid and scholarship information
- how to select a college
- planning forms to make the process easier
- option for a homeschool consultation
Your Free Common App Checklist for Homeschoolers
Once you get down the road far enough, it’s application time.
Did you know The Common App requires work for homeschooling parents?
I’ve got answers to your questions!
Subscribe and download your free mini lesson from the course, Homeschooling for College by Design and learn more about The Common App for homeschoolers.
We are part parent.
And part guidance counselor.
Some of our students will need a more gentle transition from high school to college.
Community college can fill that gap for some families.
Still others will seek out an experience even more tailored to a successful transition.
Including a residential component.
Visit the campus. Ask questions. Learn more. If you apply and use the code homeschool, the application fee is waived. That’s a bonus. College applications are expensive!
As you walk this road with your high schoolers, be sure to use all the tools for navigation.
Make sure your teen has his goals and preferences in mind.
Four years is a long while.
And there’s a lot of work ahead.
When they put it all together,
they’ll know the place that is right for them.