Questions of the Day – College Perception & Choosing Correctly

Today’s questions are a couple of good ones. These are the last two from Laura.

Are colleges looking at homeschoolers differently?

It depends upon what you mean by “differently,” and whether or not you think it’s a good thing that they do or don’t, but the short answer is yes, they do look at homeschoolers differently.

Just a few years ago, when a homeschooled student applied to college, he was greeted with suspicion and a small amount of disdain. (Ok, maybe a lot of disdain, depending on the school!) These days however, many universities actively recruit homeschooled students, because of their higher than average test scores, strong work ethic, and recent history of collegiate success. Even so, there is still an attitude that homeschooled students need to “prove” themselves before they can be admitted. This generally takes the form of standardized test scores and dual enrollment courses being weighed higher, due to the perception of parental subjectivity regarding the student’s GPA.

So, in order to counter this attitude, make sure to prepare your students well, so that their ACT/SAT scores adequately reflect their GPA.

How does my child go about choosing a college?

Sit down with your student with a pen and paper and make a list of the qualities he or she is looking for in a college. Big school or small. Public or private. Religious affiliation or secular. Close to home or far away. Liberal arts college, or technical school. After asking these questions and listing which factors are important, begin researching what schools fit these criteria and if they have the program of study or major your child is interested in.

This process should begin informally freshman year. Very often, your student’s interests will change over time, and what he wanted in a college freshman year might now be different come senior year. Visit as many colleges as you can. Preferably during the school year, as it can be a vastly different environment than during the summer. Meet the admissions office. Take a tour. Stay overnight in the dorms with another student. Ask as many questions as possible. It never hurts to be overly informed. Keep a checklist of likes and dislikes at each school. Compare the list from one school to another.

Senior year, apply to all those schools which meet your criteria. Your student might not be admitted to every one, so this will further help to eliminate options. From there, see which school is the best fit, both academically, financially, and socially. Make your choice and begin the new adventure!


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