Graduating from homeschool to university is an exciting time – and also a little intimidating. Here's the good news: plenty of homeschooled students have made the transition, and we know many times over that these students are more than up to the challenges of college.
Below are five things you should know about the transition from homeschool to university. Keeping these tips in mind can ease your mind and help you appreciate everything you've accomplished and all that's ahead of you.
1. Get Oriented
Chose a university with a variety of orientation events and training seminars for incoming students. From social events for freshmen to afternoon presentations on how to use the campus library system, such offerings are of value to all students, but of special value to homeschooled students, who may have less experience dealing with an institution.
2. Find Your College Family
Before college, homeschooled students enjoy a level of parental support and affirmation that traditional students don't often experience. So when homeschoolers leave the house and head to the university, building a new support network is critical.
The sooner homeschooled students make friends at college, the sooner they'll feel at ease in their new home. New students should look for a local church with a strong university fellowship, or join a campus Christian group. Or maybe they can find a good crew of friends in the dorm who enjoy eating dinner together every night. A strong feeling of fellowship makes all the difference.
But remember this: according to a study by Mary Beth Bolle, Roger D. Wessel, and Thalia M. Mulvihill published in the Journal of College Student Development, the more often homeschoolers call their families during the first year, the faster they will make new friends. So neither parents nor students should worry that severing the bond is the only way that a new college student can meet new people. Rather, the feelings of love and support give way to an appealing confidence in a young college student.
3. Trust Your Skills
Homeschooling teaches students how to budget their time and learn at their own pace. Also, homeschooled students tend to study in more personal, individualized ways than their private and public school peers.
So when homeschooled students arrive at the university, they should trust the skills they developed while learning at home. Because in college, success depends on time management, self-pacing, and study skills. Far from being less prepared for life away from mom and dad's supervision, homeschoolers know how to work on their own.
The skills learned in homeschooling are the very skills needed as a college student.
4. Get to Know Your Professors
One of the greatest challenges for the homeschooled graduate entering college is adjusting from the expectations of the parent or primary teacher to the expectations of professors.
During the first week of class, new students should visit all of their instructors during office hours. Ask professors about their expectations, what they look for on tests and in papers, how much they imagine students should study each week. Before the first assignment is due, ask to see a sample of a successful paper or project to see firsthand what they think is exemplary work.
5. Remember, It's the Same but Different
The homeschooled student doesn't make a transition all that different from the public or private school student. Both adjust to life away from home. Both discover how to responsibly manage their new freedom. Both learn to navigate the services and procedures of campus. And both must discern how to meet new expectations. When you arrive at your new school, look around at your classmates. Take peace in knowing they're experiencing the same feelings of excitement and intimidation you are.