How to Choose a College for Homeschool Graduates

By request: How to choose a college for homeschool graduates.

How to Choose a College for Homeschool Graduates

How to Choose a College for Homeschool Graduates

As I mentioned in an earlier post and this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode, there are important factors to consider as you begin with your homeschool high schoolers on their college searches:

What major are they interested in pursuing?

There is no point in investing in four years of college at an institution that does not have the your teen’s desired major.

Not all teens know their major, of course, and sometimes they change their mind once they are in college. You will help your teen be more clear about major choice if you give them a solid Career Exploration course in homeschool high school.

Need some help for your teen in choosing college majors? Check out this episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast and download this freebie from Vicki Tillman Coaching.

What financial constraints do they have?

It is important at the outset of the college search process to be open with your homeschool high schoolers about financial constraints and expectations:

  • What part of the college finances will they be responsible for?
  • How much can the parents contribute?
  • How does financial aid work?
  • How much can they hope for through FAFSA?
  • What kinds of scholarships or grants can they hope for from the college or elsewhere? (And will those scholarships or grants affect the needs-based scholarships from a college?)
  • These are good questions to ask on college tours or by calling financial aid advisors at college.

What size college do they prefer?

Some students prefer cozy colleges where they can get to know most of the students. Some want the bustle of large universities.

What type of college do prefer?

  • Christian college
    • Also, if your teen prefers a Christian college, is the type of theology and Christian culture important to them?
      • For instance: My oldest two sons wanted Christian college. We did not know with my first son to ask whether the college allowed “academic freedom”. Their college encouraged academic freedom, which meant that teachers could believe anything that they considered Christian and could teach from that framework. This caused lots of examining (deconstruction, really) of faith. This was difficult for one son (God used this to teach him about critical thinking, however, and he eventually became a philosopher, so it all worked out fine. )
      • Incidentally, I highly recommend homeschool high schoolers take an apologetics and a philosophy course before graduation to prepare them for the world of ideas at college and elsewhere.
  • Private college
  • Community or two-year transfer program
  • State or regional college
  • Online college options
    • Be sure to research well any online college options.
    • Some are for-profit colleges that are little more than diploma mills.
    • Some have outstanding degrees opportunities with internships and opportunities to transfer to graduate school.

How “name-brand” does they prefer?

There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school and there’s not ONE right way to choose a college for homeschool graduates?

  • Some teens want and need the stimulation and resources at a competitive or Ivy college.
  • Most teens will much prefer one of the many colleges in the US that are not considered competitive or Ivy League. I sometimes hear parents worrying that their child will not get a decent job if they do not not have a degree from a big-name college. PLEASE let this research assure you that this is not true. The best indicator of employability is:
    • A college major with good employment possibilities (check Career One Stop for Bright Futures Careers)
    • Good internships and other opportunities during college
    • Good relationships with professors (who write great recommendation letters)

Choosing a college is a big decision. Take time to do research on the best fit.

What is that college’s success rate?

You and your homeschool high schooler should visit a number of college websites. Pick some because they are interesting and some just for comparison. Look for this information

  • Average SAT or ACT scores for incoming freshman
    • It is usually a good idea to choose a school where your teen’s SAT or ACT score is likely to be similar to their peers
  • Percentage of freshmen that return for sophomore year
  • Graduation rate
  • Number of people who get a job in their major after graduation
  • Internship and employment help
  • Are transfer credits accepted?
  • Are dual-enrollment, AP or CLEP credits from high school accepted?
  • If transferring from a two-year degree to four-year college will be necessary, are the two-year college’s credits accepted at other colleges?
  • Can you take a college tour (virtual and/or live)?

At colleges of interest, what proportion of teachers are adjunct?

Adjunct professors are part time staff. They are often grossly underpaid so usually have other jobs and less time for their students. They often do not have offices so cannot have office hours with their students, so fewer mentoring opportunities.

If your teen plays a sport, does that college offer intramural, club or NCAA programs for that sport?

Our 7Sister Kym’s twins played ice hockey through high school and loved it. They wanted to play in college, so they visited several colleges but liked the club ice hockey at the University of Delaware. They loved their four years on that team! Here is advice about college sports and college success from Kendall and Carly.

For advice about NCAA prep during high school check out this interview with 7Sister Marilyn and homeschool advisor, Barb.

Are there other “musts”?

Every family has different needs and musts in choosing a college for their homeschool graduates. Our friend, Betsy at BJ’s Homeschool shares some of her family’s thoughts on college choices in this post.

Take your time! Don’t panic! And don’t forget to pray. You can do this!

Here’s a timeline of important things to cover each year in high school to get ready for college and tips for finding scholarships.

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How to Choose a College for Homeschool Graduates

Vicki Tillman

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

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