College Search for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ann Karako

This week on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast: College Search for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ann Karako.

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.)

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:

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College Search for Homeschool High Schoolers, Interview with Ann Karako

HSHSP Ep 167: How I Prepared for Competitive College, Interview with Lauren Patrick

This week on HSHSP Ep 167: How I Prepared for Competitive College, Interview with Lauren Patrick.

HSHSP Ep 167: How I Prepared for Competitive College, Interview with Lauren Patrick. Lauren shares how she developed a rigorous and well-rounded transcript in homeschool high school. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #HomeschoolTranscript #HomeschoolToCollege #LaurenPatrick

HSHSP Ep 167: How I Prepared for Competitive College, Interview with Lauren Patrick

How can teens prepare for a competitive college? Join Vicki and Lauren Patrick to find out how she prepared for college and was accepted at Mount Holyoke College.

Lauren moved to Texas from England in her sophomore year. Lauren’s mother (our friend, Kat, who gave us interviews on Shakespeare, Research Papers and Homeschooling in Britain) was from Texas but her father is British (he teaches at Oxford University). She has often visited extended family in Texas, so she adjusted easily to the culture and environment in the United States.

Lauren’s family knew she was competitive college material so they began developing a competitive transcript in late middle school (for instance, she took Algebra 1 in eighth grade).

At high school level, developed her strong transcript in several different ways:

  • Lauren leaned into her interest in English literature. She took Dreaming Spires Literature and Writing courses, which are rigorous and helped build her love of the topics.
  • She also took Spanish and many other courses at her community college through their dual-enrollment program. She graduated high school with 36 dual-enrollment credits.
  • Took courses that made her transcript look stronger, even though they were out of her interest. These included courses such as Physics and Calculus.
  • She was active in extracurriculars and built her skill in swimming to become competitive.
  • She developed her entrepreneurship interests through a self-published a children’s book series. She also created and runs an editing and book-formatting service.

How did Lauren make connections with peers and teachers in online courses?

Made sure she took advantage of the ongoing chatbars in the *classrooms*?

How did Lauren make connections with peers and teachers in her dual-enrollment courses?

Wait for professor to finish talking and ask questions.

How did Lauren start her college search process?

  • Created a spread sheet and added colleges of interest.
  • She added: Name of school, population, accept dual credit, location, where exchange students who go to Oxford start out in US (her father’s suggestion), etc
  • Discussed each possible choice with her parents. (Her mother knew her personality and was familiar with some of the colleges she listed.)
  • Discussed with her parents colleges they also added.
  • Toured top choices from the spread sheet during junior year.

She eventually applied to 6 colleges: Trinity University, Southwestern, Hendricks College, Vassar College, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College.

How did she narrow the choices?

College tours, special college days.

She loaded her swim times, GPA and SAT scores on the NCSA National College Sports Association website. Through that she was recruited by Mount Holyoke’s swim coach. When she visited she found that “there wasn’t anything I could hate about it”. Then she found that the schools she visited later, didn’t compare to Mt. Holyoke for her. The main decision point was the highest respected college that accepted all her dual credits.

What did Mount Holyoke like her?

  • The swim coach liked her, that she swam the 400 meter, and her SAT scores.
  • The rigor of the courses on her transcript.
  • Her college application essay. (She wrote about an experience she had when she lived in Britain, where she helped lobby for homeschooling. She talked to her Member of Parliament and Prime Minister, David Cameron. She wrote that good leadership is about listening to the people they lead.)

The school gave her a scholarship for her entrepreneurship. (She mentioned in her application she wants an entrepreneurship minor, something her college considers their specialty.)

What tips would Lauren have for homeschool high schoolers?

We’re excited for Lauren’s adventures as she heads off to college at Mount Holyoke. Join her and Vicki for an inspirational chat.

You will also enjoy these posts about homeschool graduates.

Homeschool Highschool Podcast Ep 107: Homeschool Swimmer Goes to Harvard

Homeschool Highschool Podcast Ep 110: What’s it Like to be a Homeschool Senior?

Join our Facebook Page and 7SistersHomeschool Facebook Group for good conversation and encouragement!

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HSHSP Ep 167: How I Prepared for Competitive College, Interview with Lauren Patrick

HSHSP Ep 53 How to Start the College Search

HSHSP Ep 53 How to Start the College SearchHSHSP Ep 53 How to Start the College Search

Stress time!

Your homeschool highschooler needs to start thinking about life after graduation. College is in the picture. But how do you help your teen make the right choices?

Making a good college selection can save time, money and heartache.

Teens who make a good choice have 4 or 5 wonderful college years that open doors for successful life and careers (with the amount of debt they can bear- none/some/lots).

Where do you start?

How do you help them make a wise choice?

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for a practical list of things to discuss with your teen when it is time to start looking at colleges.

For more helpful information, check the college search post at 7SistersHomeschool.com.

 

 


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