Planning Ahead for College – Part 1: Colleges Welcome Homeschoolers

Cambridge. King's College Gatehouse
photo credit: Cornell University Library

Have you heard that your homeschooled high school student will never get into a good college? Listen carefully: this is simply not true! Homeschoolers have been accepted to and have excelled in colleges across the nation, including prestigious and Ivy League schools. Many colleges eagerly recruit homeschoolers because they have seen how well these independent, well-educated young people do on college campuses.

Good News from College

At the 1995 Clonlara Home School Conference, Robert Blackstock, representing Hillsdale College (MI), commented on Hillsdale’s encounter with home-educated students: “We have had a tremendous experience with homeschoolers. You’ve heard all the cautions: that they won’t be socially adjusted and they won’t be academically prepared, and I just have to wonder what is it they’re not socially adjusted to because they walk onto our campus and they are just fine. They seem to stand back…and take stock for a couple of weeks and then they become the editor of our paper, they take lead roles in plays, they go into student government…Our experience has been that their attitude toward learning is better, they’re more fully and more actively engaged in the learning process…they take the tone of the campus easily in stride. So one of the things we look favorably [on] in admissions decisions is the fact that they’re homeschoolers .”

The Great College Search does not have to be the high-stress process of which we often hear. Like thousands of homeschooling families across the country, we survived this rite of passage, and you can too. Although we made mistakes along the way, our oldest son Tyler was accepted into his first choice: a highly competitive Christian college. Our other son JB was also accepted into his first choice and was awarded a wonderful scholarship as well. We used no outside sources for transcripts or scholarships. Everything we did, you can do also.

Haddon Hall

 photo credit: Cornell University Library

Number One Tip

Here is the most important tip: Get Organized! Disorganization was my downfall and explains why we missed an important scholarship deadline to JB’s second choice school! My dear friend Celeste, the Queen Bee of Organization, made a wise decision while navigating the college search with her oldest child, Rebekah. Celeste kept a Master College Notebook from the very earliest days of their searching. Knowing that she had to be Rebekah’s guidance counselor, Celeste made smart decisions:

1. She kept a calendar in her notebook and noted every single deadline as she learned about them.
2. She searched locally, as well as far and wide on the Internet, for possible college scholarship opportunities. When she found one that Rebekah would be eligible to apply for, she filed it in her notebook and marked the pertinent dates on her calendar.
3. Most of the scholarships and all of the colleges required essays, so Celeste assigned them as part of Rebekah’s senior English course.
4. Celeste kept track of important correspondence from each college and kept good notes of all phone conversations and even personal visits. She then put reminders on her calendar of any follow-ups needed.

All of their hard work paid off: Rebekah won enough small and medium-sized scholarships to fully her fund her four years at an in-state university. It took much time on both of their parts to do this, but Rebekah graduated debt-free.

In my next post, we’ll look at some strategies for choosing the right college for your child.


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