College is a big step for any teen, homeschooled or not. And while skeptics argue that homeschoolers and college don’t go together, research shows that on average, homeschooled teens can “match and often excel beyond their traditionally schooled counterparts in terms of grades” (Sorey and Duggan, Journal of College Admission, 2008).
Homeschooling kids and college fair pretty well in higher education, that’s really not much of a surprise. But as with any major transitions, proper preparation is necessary. Before sending your teens off to college, consider the following tips:
Tip #1: Introduce the idea of college in a positive light. Don’t make it seem like it’s the end of the world, crying and weeping each time the word “college” is mentioned. Watching your dear homeschoolers move on to the next level of academic success is a wonderful, joyful thing. You want your kids to experience this exciting time not with fear but with confidence. You want them to leave your home thinking college is a fun, learning time; the perfect time to make mistakes, as a matter of fact, so they are able to take on whatever life throws their way in the future.
Tip #2: Teach them important life skills. From financial responsibility to time management, prioritizing and budgeting, to balancing of checks—nothing is too irrelevant when you’re preparing your teens for college and adult life. Let them work in high school or during summer breaks; let them earn their first car, and hone in on the value of hard work. These practical skills are going to be their tools for success, remember that.
Tip #3: Begin to clip their wings. I know this is much easier said than done. I mean, exactly how do you expect a parent to let their kids go and decide for themselves? Not without a fight, I tell you! But as we all know, we’re going to have to let our children learn from being independent—from the good and the bad that come at the cost of freedom. This will prepare them for the real world.
Once your homeschooled teens are ready for college, let them try traditional on-campus life even for a semester. Encourage them to build positive friendships to make college life an experience they will never forget. Additionally, make sure your homeschooler is prepared for college with these college preparation resources.