Transitioning from Homeschooling to College
Written by: Sarah Smith '22
There are many misconceptions about homeschooling, including the notion that homeschooled students are not as prepared for college as students taught in a regular classroom.
The reality is that homeschooled students are often more than ready for college once they graduate from high school due to the nature of their curriculum. By the time they reach high school, many students are responsible for completing their learning activities without a teacher looking over their shoulder, submitting their assignments on time, and balancing and scheduling their time—all skills required regularly in college. Additionally, many have part-time jobs, as do many college students, so being responsible for their own time is nothing new.
During high school, I was taking dual enrollment courses (college-level courses in high school) in addition to my regular high school courses. At one point, I was balancing 12 dual-enrollment credits with two Math courses and working 20+ hours at a part-time job. When I came to York College, despite now taking 15 credits at a time, I found the transition relatively easy as I’d already been balancing a college-level schedule for two years.
I took my dual-enrollment credits asynchronously (I could learn on my own schedule) at Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC). Many other homeschoolers in my shoes did the same thing. In fact, a big reason why I chose York College is because it accepted all my transfer credits (35), which allowed me to skip my entire first year of college. That was a huge advantage of homeschooling—and the College recognized it, making sure all that time I spent studying at the college level in high school was acknowledged.
York even made submitting my transcript easy. All I needed to do was submit an evaluator-approved high school transcript from my homeschool courses, as well as my HACC transcript, to the Admissions Office.
One of the best ways homeschooling prepared me for college was time management. In addition to high school classes, I worked 20 to 30 hours a week at various part-time jobs. Plus, the college courses I was taking at HACC were asynchronous, but just like a regular college student would, I had deadlines to turn in assignments and complete tests, so I didn’t have the time not to manage my time effectively.
When I got to college at York, I was already used to reviewing syllabi for deadlines and assignment due dates so I could manage them with my work schedule. That wasn’t anything that I hadn’t experienced before. I knew that if I had a chunk of time before work, I had to prioritize assignments in that time so that I could keep on top of everything.
There were, however, a few unexpected challenges going into college as a homeschooler. One of the biggest things I was not used to was learning in a public environment. Being around so many other people in a noisy space and having to work in group projects (in person) was culture shock for me. At York College, smaller classes of 25 students or less and opportunities to personally connect with my professors helped me ease into this environment.
Socializing is another challenge that we homeschooled students might face during pre-college years. Although there are plenty of opportunities for us to get involved in our local communities and even at our local schools, it’s an extra challenge that we face that a student in a public school wouldn’t.
When I came to York College, I was used to focusing on my education, work life, and future career. Even if I hadn’t wanted to get involved in extracurricular activities, working with other people on group projects and class assignments, as previously mentioned, was necessary. Aside from exposure to these situations, which naturally helped me learn how to communicate and work with others, getting involved in other activities outside of classes helped immensely, and York made that easy for me.