I went to college and glad I did. After doing some theater during high school, I thought...that I would definitely NOT go into theater...no money in it...I was paying for college myself...so, no, not doing theater. I wanted something practical...until I overhead someone say that his major was Children’s Theater. Never heard of it but I knew I was supposed to be doing it. That was on a Saturday; on Monday I changed my major for the third and last time. I learned a lot and have been using my major pretty much ever since. Having a degree has also allowed me to substitute teach as needed to boost income.
Let me tell you about my good friend who graduated from high school the same year I did. She went straight into a job. Six months later, she wrote to tell me she was buying a new car. New, not just new-to-her. One year after we graduated, she told me she was looking for a house to buy. The thought ran through my mind multiple times that she got a new car and was getting a house and I was spending money going to college. Maybe I was in the wrong business.
If your child wants to grow up to be something that needs a college degree - doctor, lawyer, professor, rocket scientist, or a college education is important to you and your child - there are ways for homeschoolers to get there.
- Community college is a possibility. Some community colleges might require a high school diploma or a GED. The community college near me doesn’t require either when a student is underage. A 16-17-year-old has to fill out the “underage” application. There’s another underage application for 15 and younger. My husband taught now and then at the community college and he had 14, 15 and 16-year-olds in his class who were homeschoolers. All four of my children went to community college at 16. There are some 2-year degrees that end in a career such as hospitality and tourism, anesthesia technology, computer information systems. Some community colleges are feeder schools into the larger universities and class credits easily transfer.
- For 4-year colleges and universities, and for community colleges as well, here is THE answer: look up their admissions online or call admissions and ask. Start checking three or four years in advance. Be sure to see if they have admissions information specifically for homeschoolers, most colleges do. One of my kids had to have a good score on the ACT. One homeschool mom I knew said that she just called the college and asked about admissions but “if I didn’t get the right answer, I just called back at a different time until I got the right person with the answer I needed.” Don’t listen to anyone who tells you, you must do thus-and-such for your child to enter a college. CALL THE COLLEGES that your child is interested in attending.
- RECORD KEEPING. For my kids, I did not have to keep detailed records. In fact, for one of my kids, I called a university that I was interested in for her and it was so small I had a lovely conversation with the registrar who asked me what grades my child was getting. I said, “I teach my child. Do I need to create a transcript?” He then said, “No, but what grades would you give her?” “As” “Okay.” The office manager gave me the phone number of the theater professor to ask any questions I might have. A few weeks later, they had sent her a scholarship; she wasn’t even enrolled and wasn’t interested in attending there. Darn. As far as records, CALL THE COLLEGES and ask what documents they want.
- GEDs. Your child might need one. We looked into the Art Institute of Portland and they just needed a GED. If your child is good at test-taking, don’t worry. If your child is not good at taking a test, community colleges usually have classes to help prepare for the GED. But just to be sure, CALL THE COLLEGES.
But college is not the end all. There are other options such as trade school, find a job, or start a business. Please don’t push your child into college if they hate academics.* (But do make sure they know how to work.)
- One homeschooler we knew wanted to go into large engine mechanics. He knew which trade school was the best in the nation for that, and he went there. He also told us how much one generally gets paid for large engine work; I remember wishing I had gone into the field.
- Another homeschooler went immediately into business for himself. He learned his entrepreneurial skills from his dad.
- One young woman works with the youth of her church.
- One young man started his career at West Point.
- One young woman became a beautician.
- At a chamber of commerce luncheon meeting that I was invited to, we had a conversation on what the businesses in the area thought about different topics. A man and his grown son had a thriving lawn and garden business. The man said, “Students need to stop being told that they have to go to college. Not everyone needs to go.” Please keep in mind that many of those who say college is necessary are in education where academic training is ongoing.
- The Small Business Development Center often has business classes, workshops and special speakers that help the entrepreneur do better business.
- When my husband was working to help high school students graduate, he asked a senior what she wanted to be when she “grew up.” She had it planned. She was doing a work-study program at a real estate agency. She planned on getting her license and start selling real estate. She was going to buy and sell property until she was able to buy a commercial building and open her own bar. My husband said, “That’s an amazing plan. Go for it.” She was taken aback. “You’re the only adult who has every said that it’s okay not to go to college.”
And that’s basically it as far as college is or is not concerned. I very much wish you the best in your homeschooling journey.
*Sometimes a student just needs a little time, needs to be a little older before starting college. Also, one of my kids did great doing online college classes. And one of my kids did so poorly at online and really needed the college classes to be in person.