Deep breath. You’ve reached it – the college search. As a homeschool parent, the college search may have seemed so far off. It certainly did for me. However, it is fantastic journey to be on with your high schooler. My high schoolers and I have learned a few things the last four years. We are still learning. Still stepping out into unknown territory. But it is exciting! And the Lord has every step in His most capable hands.
Look up! So, so, so, so lovely! ? #fallcolor #exploregeorgia #1000gifts #latergram #Godsartwork
We aren’t perfect. That’s why this is the imperfect homeschooler’s guide to the college search. These are tips, pieces of advice and some resources I have collected along the way. As I said, we are still learning. These are snippets and are not meant to be a comprehensive guide.
10 Tips for the Homeschooler’s College Search
God has this! Yes, we must be diligent and make sure we have the credits and fill out the high school transcript. But, friends, the college search is an unknown. God has plans. So,
We should make plans – counting on God to direct us. Proverbs 16:9
The Lord has plans for each of our children. Yes, we have made sure that our homeschool high school is a college preparatory one. Because we wanted to be sure that was definitely an option. Is college always the best route for a homeschool graduate? Not always. In fact, we already see that our eldest son, now a junior, is a fantastic candidate for online training in computer technology. Our eldest daughter, a senior, is away at a Future Scholar’s Weekend competing for a full ride scholarship. This particular college is the one she has dreamed about. But she realizes that without scholarships that we likely will not be able to afford for her to go to a private, Christian college. She may be taking core courses at a junior college close to home.
Fun with Fall Homechool College Search
Don’t be so serious! (Speaking to myself here). It is so very easy to get caught up in all the ‘need to’ and compare ourselves to other families on the college search. So we decided that on every college trip we would make sure we also simply had FUN. A quick side trip to a local spot. A hike, a stop for apples.
Spend time in the sophomore and junior years on SAT/ACT test prep. No worries if you are half way through the junior year. I simply suggest spreading it out over two years so your student can simply take it easy. But you can pick it up where you are and do it daily. I have some great resources listed below. We used:
- The Official SAT Question of the Day
- SAT and College Preparation Course for the Christian Student – we even used this as a devotional because of the focus on scripture and prayer.
- College Test Prep from REA – Specifically ACT Strategy Smart
My eldest two taking time at Tallulah Gorge State Park in north Georgia in October. Fall in Georgia is spectacular!
Schedule taking the SAT and/or ACT. My daughter took the SAT in the spring of her junior year and the ACT in the fall of her senior year. My son may just take the ACT this spring because of all the changes going on with the SAT.
Put together a high school transcript. My daughter’s first choice in a college had a homeschool transcript template we downloaded and filled out. So, check with the colleges your student is interested in. Click on that ‘homeschool’ tab! I relied heavily on the resource I mention in the next point.
We visited three colleges in one week on our college search (in between all the fun we had!) Above: Vogel, Black Rock and Tallulah Gorge State Parks. As well as Brasstown Bald and the river below Cupid Falls at Young Harris College.
Start writing course descriptions. They may not be necessary. But in all my research and in taking the advice of seasoned homeschoolers, I believe this is the way to go. Even if a college does not request course descriptions. I used these resources and spent time last summer writing. And, since my senior and my junior do many of their courses together, I have most of my son’s course descriptions already written because of it!
- Comprehensive Record Solution
- Homeschool Mommy Marks and Universities (such sound, solid, practical advice!)
Don’t fret. The majority of colleges are homeschool friendly. Both of the student guides we have toured around with were either homeschooled or had homeschool connections. The colleges we have been in contact with are very homeschool friendly.
College Visits for Homeschoolers
Visit the schools you are interested in on your college search! Go to those colleges. Ask questions. Have fun. Our experience has been fantastic. These colleges have students who are so very helpful. They call, they text and they meet us at admissions. They love what they do. And we appreciate it! If you can, we definitely suggest you sit in on a college class. We did and it were able to speak with the college professor and ask questions afterwards. We also ate lunch in the cafeteria. Take advantage of any or all of these as you visit college campuses.
I took senior pictures one evening while we were on family vacation at the beach.
Lean on those that have gone before you. Those that ‘know’. Fortunately my sister-in-love (I prefer that over sister-in-law) is a high school guidance counselor and has spent time counseling me in our college search. She is the one that suggested College 411 and edited my daughter’s transcript and course descriptions. Plus she is always on top of scholarships plus just generally encouraging about this adventure. I am so grateful for her! Also, those fellow homeschool mama friends that are continuing to coach me. Thank you!
Set attainable goals. When I was writing course descriptions, I decided I would work 15 minutes a day for a week. Right now our simple goal is for my daughter to do “one adult thing each week.” That might be applying for a scholarship. Or making a phone call to a college to ask a question.
My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do. The mountains are His. The rivers are His. The stars are His handiwork too. -Luci’s Instagram post
Of course this is not all-inclusive. I plan to share more along the way. Am I finding it a challenge to balance the needs of the age range and keep up with the college search, requirements and counseling my high schoolers? Yes, of course. But He gives me strength each day. We accomplish what we can. His mercies are new every morning.
Cherish this time! It goes so fast, friends.
-originally published November 2015