College Search for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ann Karako

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: College Search for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ann Karako. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

College Search for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ann Karako

College Search for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ann Karako

Our good buddy, Ann Karako, joins Vicki for a fun discussion about the most stressful thing for many homeschool high school juniors and seniors: The college search!

What if you are a mom with a homeschool junior? Ann has some advice for her!

Juniors need to start looking at colleges. Here’s Ann’s suggestion for taking the weight off your shoulders:

We homeschool moms sometimes get the “keeping up with the Joneses” pressure for getting our homeschool graduates into a top-tier college. We feel like if we don’t, we have somehow failed our teens, our families and the entire homeschool movement!

But here’s the truth: Your homeschool high school DOES NOT need to go to a high-powered college to find success in life! We don’t need to carry that top-tier college burden around with us! What is important is this fact:

I’m not trying to fit my kid to a college. I’m trying to find a college that fits my kid!

Our teens have wrinkles! They have personalities. They aren’t perfect. Why set our teens up for college stress by sending them to a college that will be more competitive than they need?

Instead, find a college that has students with whom they CAN compete AND enjoy the process without getting ulcers from the stress.

I'm not trying to fit my kid to a college. I'm trying to find a college that fits my kid!

How can you find a college for “average college-bound” teens? How can you find a college that thinks YOUR homeschool high schooler looks good- even with their foibles?

Check college websites. Look at:

  • The test scores of incoming freshmen
  • The courses that incoming freshmen took in high school

The college that thinks your teen looks good is more likely to cough up some money for them, btw. What is more important, it is the college where your homeschool graduate will feel most contented.

Another tip from Ann: Find out when the application dates are for schools of interest. Some schools have rolling admissions and will start reviewing applications in June of junior year. Most colleges, though, take applications sometime in the fall through early winter. SO start that college search during junior year so you and your homeschool high schooler have less time-crunch.

How can you handle college tours?

Ann and her homeschool seniors do not do any college tours until they receive acceptance letters. They have found it a waste of time and money to travel to campuses that would not admit her teens. Once the letters are in, THEN they go on some visits.

Instead:

  • Do virtual tours on the college’s website
  • Do google satellite searches for the campus
  • Read online opinions from students and graduates

(Of course, the college tours have not happened IRL during COVID, anyway. All the tours have been virtual.)

Remember, there’s not ONE right way to do college tours!

Choose colleges that have the major or program for what your teen wants to study

Junior year is a good time to work on choosing the college major or program that your homeschool high schooler will want to study. Ann has found that it is difficult to do serious college searching if her teens do not know what they are going to college to train for. (Check out this HSHSP episode on choosing college majors. Also check out this timeline of important things to cover each year in high school to get ready for college and tips for finding scholarships.)

Another tip from Ann: If your homeschool high schooler is not settled on a college major, do some career exploration now! College is a lot of money to spend on an undetermined major!

Choose colleges that have the extracurriculars that are important to your teen

One of Ann’s homeschool high schoolers wanted to play softball in college. There were several colleges that she liked that had her major, but only one had a softball program available to her. Ann’s daughter chose the college with the softball program because that would make college fun and meaningful while she worked on her major!

Remember, there’s not ONE right-fit college for your teen

Another tip from Ann: There are SO many colleges out there. There are lots of colleges where your homeschool high schooler will grow, learn, succeed and enjoy their education!

Another tip from Ann: It’s all about attitude! Tell teens it is there job to go to college and make the most out of their experience. Learn as much as they can while they are there. Choose to make it a good experience!

Remember: It’s not that hard to get into college

Just look for the one that fits your kid! (Vicki remember that in the eighteen years she served as a homeschool advisor, she found that ALL the homeschool graduates who wanted to go to college went to college.)

Join Vicki and Ann for a lively discussion! For more on the college search, check out this post.

Want more wisdom from Ann Karako? Check her work out at:

Don’t forget: when looking at colleges, it can help to look at their financial aid and scholarship programs. Some students will be eligible and others won’t, but it can be a part of your data-gathering and decision-making process.

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Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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