From Homeschool to College: A 4-Step Pre-College Timeline
The transition to college is not a passive rite of passage. Rather, it requires much time and energy to prepare for college success.
All four years of high school play a unique role in the college preparation process. Here is what I learned throughout my own high school experience that I hope will make other homeschoolers’ road to college easier.
Research some extracurricular activities for your applications. It is really important to include things in your college applications that make you stand out. A high GPA is not enough — colleges want to see leadership, motivation, and dedication.
Beginning extracurricular activities early gives you an opportunity to become committed to an organization, allowing for possible leadership opportunities.
I know that can sound intimidating, but I was able to experience many volunteer and leadership opportunities while rarely traveling more than ten minutes from home.
For example, I participated in my parish youth group activities throughout high school, which allowed me to volunteer multiple times each year at various institutions, including church functions.
Because I went for several years, I was eventually one of the oldest students, which allowed me to take on a leadership role.
Having this experience gave me things to use to fill out my applications and stories to fill out my interviews.
Take the PSAT. The PSAT may seem like an unnecessary extra step, but the experience it provides is invaluable. I felt a lot more at ease taking the SAT because I had taken the PSAT the previous year. If I had not, the format, rules, and studying practices would have been unfamiliar and an extra layer of stress.
In addition, I opted to fill out a form on the SAT that would match me with colleges and send them my information. Then, they could contact me if they were interested. Through this process, I learned about new schools which helped me in my research.
Research potential colleges while thinking about your future career. This will help you to match the high school classes you take to your future studies. This is one thing I really regret not doing. I did not research careers and schools seriously until senior year, which caused me to not have classes that were required for nursing programs at some schools, which limited my options.
Some good ways to research are asking graduates in your homeschool community, contacting Seton’s college partners, and, of course, looking on the internet.
Study for and take the SAT. If you take the PSAT, you will get a detailed online score report that shows you what you know well and what you should study more. Use this to give structure to your studying. I recommend using the Princeton Review’s study book as a guide.
Be sure to take the timed practice tests that they include, as this really gives you an idea of what to work on. It is especially important for the essay section, which requires a different type of essay than most people are used to.
Another tool I found helpful was the College Board’s “Question of the Day” app. It is a great way to keep studying even during the busy school day.
Make an application calendar. Once you know what colleges and scholarships you want to apply to, write down when the applications are due.
When I made mine, I included how many essays were required, if there was a fee, and when the early application deadline was. This helped me to be less stressed during the application process.
Relax and spend time with family, knowing that your hard work and careful planning paid off in the end.
Although this all might seem overwhelming, remember that the goal of this timeline is to spread work over a long period of time. Following this timeline makes it more likely that you can attend the college that you desire since you will have prepared ahead of time.
About Anna Eileen
Anna Eileen, is a member of the Seton Home Study School Class of 2014 and is now a sophomore in the nursing program at Aquinas College Nashville. She is a scholarship coach with two years of experience tutoring students of all ages.
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