College After Homeschool: Making the Transition Academically, Socially, Emotionally, and Spiritually
Any student who has gone to college will tell you that it’s a busy time. Applications for schools and scholarships need to be filled out, the SAT/ACT needs to be taken, and transcripts need to be obtained. Students who go to public or private high schools have the assistance of their teachers and school counselors to guide them through this process. But what about students who have been homeschooled? How do they navigate the testing and transcripts that are required to go to college?
Grace College student Ellie Conrades is one of many students at Grace who has experienced college after homeschool. Her parents, Daniel and Christine, have walked with her through the college journey and have learned a lot from the process. After applying to college as a homeschooler and enrolling at Grace, Ellie and her parents have many helpful resources, tips and tricks, and other life hacks to share to help homeschooled students (and their parents!) successfully transition from homeschool to college.
College After Homeschool: The Parent Experience
When Daniel and Christine Conrades were researching primary education options for their children, they found that public and private schools were just not the right fit for their family. Homeschool was the best option because they could instruct their kids from a Biblical worldview, bond as a family, and encourage their kids to learn together. They used a comprehensive curriculum company that included a complete high school package as well as extra course recommendations. They also appreciated that when Ellie, their oldest daughter, began applying to college as a homeschooler, they were able to assist her in that transition.
“It’s bittersweet watching your child getting ready to fly, but I have enjoyed every moment we’ve had learning together and getting to watch her gain her independence,” Christine commented.
The college preparation and application process was actually quite simple for the Conrades family, despite its many moving parts. Ellie was incredibly disciplined in her college research and applications, and she was independently motivated in her SAT prep.
This was due in part to the skills she acquired as a homeschooled student and in part to the support from her parents. Because of her good grades, Ellie was able to apply to multiple colleges and get accepted to them all. But ultimately, Grace College stood out as the right institution for many reasons.
“We were impressed by the community, liked the idea of eight-week courses, and we were confident that our daughter would be taught from a Biblical perspective.”
College After Homeschool: The Student Experience
Being taught from a Biblical perspective and finding a place to grow in her faith was equally important to Ellie. One of her biggest takeaways from the application process was learning to trust God through it. She knew that she could rest assured that God already had a plan.
This was especially true when she first got to college and was navigating homesickness and making new friendships.
“I learned that connecting with my family each week helped bridge the gap between my college life and home,” said Ellie. “And I also found that intentionally getting out of my dorm room helped with meeting new people and getting into the college experience.”
In addition to the social/emotional adjustment of college, Ellie admits that the differences between academics at home and in college took some getting used to.
“I’ve mainly had to get used to sitting through long lectures,” she said, “which hasn’t been a bad thing, just different.” While lectures have been a point of transition, Ellie has found that her ability to plan out her daily tasks – a necessity in the world of homeschooling – has been incredibly helpful. She’s grateful that early on she established the routine of getting homework done on time, especially now that life is busier.
Looking back on her college search now, Ellie sees that one of the greatest benefits of going from homeschool to college was that she didn’t have to allocate a specific time after school to do so. She was able to apply for colleges and scholarships as part of her daily work.
“I was able to do college research during the school day or right when I finished my school work,” said Ellie. “Since my mom was home most of the time, she was able to help me and give me advice as well.”
Those days of research are done and have resulted in Ellie’s successful enrollment at Grace College. From homeschool to college, she is thankful for the journey that led her here.
Here at Grace, we welcome students of all backgrounds to engage with each other, Jesus, and the world for a well-rounded academic experience. If you’re applying to college as a homeschooler, you’re not alone! Check out this list we’ve compiled of what things you need to know in the application process!
Parents, we value you and your student as they grow, learn, and thrive here at Grace. Check out our parent page for the information you need to know about what’s happening on campus.