Homeschool. It’s a choice, and it’s not for everyone. But for your family you knew it was right — at least until now. For your homeschool high schooler facing college, they are feeling just as unsure as you. But homeschool parents are resourceful, and chances are you passed that quality to them.
Homeschool hacks aren’t just for a healthy budget and an organized classroom. They’re for going to college, choosing the right college major and graduating with the least amount of debt. So do your homeschool students a favor, and help them break the college code.
Don't Choose a College Major
Choose a career path. Instead of researching academics first, reverse your search and explore career paths based on job titles you’d like to have. Start with your interests and personality to find a fit, and you may discover jobs you never knew were out there. Most public schools have access to an on-site career counselor, but homeschool students must do their own detective work. Take a free assessment on 16Personalities.com or dive into millions of real career paths right here.
Opt for a Skills-Based Course Load
Choose your college courses based on the most valuable real-world skills. If you know you want to be a programmer in the healthcare industry, take computer science courses teaching languages common in that field. Supplement your college education with over 65,000 online courses taught by expert instructors on Udemy. If you've had the freedom as a homeschool student to design a skills-based curriculum, now is your chance to apply it to a degree program and eventual career.
Look for Alternative Scholarships
As a homeschool student, there are scholarships available exclusively to you. Browse them on sites like CollegeScholarships.org and Unigo. There are many other scholarships reserved for specific and unique attributes, like duck calling, potato farming and simply being tall. Curious? Sign up and take a look.
Understand the Drawbacks to Your Major
Architect majors get the least sleep. Chemical Engineering majors are the second hardest working. And Composition and Rhetoric majors have one of the highest unemployment rates. Talk to upperclassmen and recent grads of your chosen major. Their frustrations are likely fresh and relevant to what you intend to pursue. If you’re up for the challenge, stick it out. If not, ask the same questions to students in other fields. You may find you like what you hear. For even more insight, reach out to professionals in the thick of their career.
Know the Environment You’d Like to Work In
And choose a major that corresponds. If you love the outdoors, look into Resource Conservation. If you thrive behind a microscope in a lab, try Human Biology or Genetics. And don’t limit yourself to the campus. Take your studies to the natural setting of a related career. The reality of your ideal environment may be different from the dream. As a homeschool student, unconventional classrooms are familiar territory. Use your experience to enhance your efforts.
Make Meaningful Connections With Professors
If college is your first experience with formal instruction outside the home, this hack may take you out of your comfort zone. But the impression you make could be the difference between landing a job post-graduation or not. Take advantage of office hours, pay attention to extracurriculars hosted by your professors, email them with questions regarding your academic career, and don’t be afraid to ask for letters of recommendation.
Don’t Wait to Start your College Essays
It’s obvious to any board of admissions when college essays are written overnight. Instead, take your time, do your research, and have a parent or peer proofread before submission. This advice is especially useful when applying to more than one school. Allocate a number of hours in your homeschool high school schedule for research, writing and editing.
Homeschool hacks for college bound students are not a one size fits all solution, but they will make the transition from high school to college easier. For homeschool parents, there are a couple of key ways to help. First, don’t change your kid’s room. They’ll need a familiar and comfortable space to return to when they come home. Second, follow this advice: “Move like your feet are stuck in molasses.” When a challenge arises away from home, be slow to help. Let your kid work through the problem before intervening. Provide support, but give space.
It's their time to shine.