Want Your Home Schooler to Get a Head Start on College? Dual Credit Could be the Answer

February 24, 2012


In a nutshell, dual credit is offered to juniors and seniors who are interested in earning college credit while still in high school. The credit earned simultaneously counts towards a high school diploma as well as a college degree if the student decides to enroll in a community college or university later on—hence the word dual. Dual credit courses are only offered through community colleges. While dual credit programs are highly publicized in public schools, many homeschoolers are unaware that they too have access to this opportunity that can give them a boost in their academic career. That said, to see if dual credit might be ideal for your homeschooler, continue reading below.

Saves Time: While traditionally it takes bachelor degree seekers four years to earn their degree, more commonly students are now taking five years to complete their programs. While the reasons vary (students decide to change majors or only enroll part-time for example) one thing is certain: an extra year means students have to spend more money on tuition, textbooks, and housing. Dual credit, however, allows students to get most of the basic college coursework out of the way (like Spanish I, Biology I and lower-division mathematics and science) so they can move at a much quicker rate. Some students earn so much credit that they enter college as a sophomore, and earn their diploma in three short years.

Saves Money: Students typically don’t have to pay to enroll in dual credit programs (although they are required to pay for textbooks and other class materials). But even the programs that do require students to pay give access to college courses at a huge discount—some a whopping 50%. This means that students can earn credit for the exact same course they could’ve earned in a pricey college for a fraction of the original cost.

Relieves Parents of Harder Subjects:  The beauty of dual credit courses is that if can give a homeschooler access  to harder subjects that may be difficult to complete at home, like chemistry with extensive labs, as well as give parents a way to escape teaching classes that they don’t favor teaching, like pre-calculus or biology.

Gives Students Peek into the Future: Lastly, dual credit courses give students some insight to what college coursework is going to be like so that they can better prepare themselves for the real thing. The best part? If a student doesn’t want to engage with a live professor just yet, there are tons on dual credit courses that can be completed online as well so he or she can take the courses in the comfort of his or her home.

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Author Bio:

This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at accredited online colleges about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @ gmail.com.

Posted under Homeschool College Prep

7 Ways For Homeschoolers To Prepare for College

February 1, 2012

(Thank you to Carolyn for this great guest post!)

As a homeschooler, you are no doubt very proud of your academic achievements and will in all likelihood be ahead of the academic curve when you are ready to matriculate into the college scene.  Due to the one-on-one and focused nature of homeschooling many students are able to advance more quickly through their studies and are therefore ready to test out of entry-level college courses.  Math and English test scores are not generally a problem, but the other side of this can be the lack of extra-curricular activities.  To become competitive with public or private school students, you’ll have to reach out into the community to round out your education.  Here are a few tips and resources for homeschool kids to help them prepare for college in their high-school years.

1. Athletics

If you are athletically inclined, but don’t have a school team to join, try checking out your options at community centers around town.  A lot of kids that go to public/private schools and compete on their schools sports teams also play the same sport for a club team.  Activate your social skills and join in!

2. Science Centers

Depending upon your location many cities have science centers that offer classes.  I grew up in Oklahoma City and went to the Omniplex to take lab and astronomy classes in a homeschool group.  Check with your nearest science museum to see if they offer any sort of field trips for homeschool groups or would be willing to set one up.  We got to dissect frogs in the lab, visit the planetarium and tour the gardens.

3. Language Classes

Check community centers and community colleges for foreign language classes.  Most colleges will want you to have a least 2 years of foreign language and studying it out of a book with no interaction might not be as impressive by itself unless you at least pair it with some sort of interactive speaking class.  Libraries, churches, community centers and other resources in your local newspaper and community websites should list any offerings.

4. Volunteering

Due to the open schedule homeschooling provides, you should take advantage of the volunteer opportunities in your community.  Colleges love to see volunteering on your transcript and the flexibility of your schedule may open up doors for you to get involved in ways that public/private school kids can’t.

5. Tests

Before you apply to colleges you will need to sign up for either the SAT or ACT standardized exams.  Get a book of example tests and study them beforehand, it will help to know what you’re about to walk into.  If you are seriously advanced in certain subjects, consider taking College Level Exam Program (CLEP) tests to earn college credit before you even walk onto campus.

6. Shopping Schools

Most universities will offer tabs to explain what is needed for homeschool applicants.  Check out the Online Education Database or other college ranking information to help you determine where you want to attend.

7. Student Aid

Go to the FAFSA website to apply for financial aid once you have selected your institution.

Once you have taken these steps it will be time to get your transcript and letters of recommendation together and actually apply to the school.  Good luck!

Author’s Bio: Carolyn is a guest post blogger who writes on the subjects of higher education, registered nurse schools and the job market.

Posted under Homeschool College Prep

Free SAT/ACT training material for Boy Scouts

April 11, 2011

FYI – If you have a Boy Scout and plan on him or family members taking the SAT and/or ACT in the near future, check out this article describing free SAT/ACT software that is normally $199, being donated to scouts to help prepare for the tests.  Or you can go directly to eKnowledge’s website to order.  (You are charged about $14 shipping and handling per set.)


Posted under Homeschool College Prep

From Application to Acceptance: 4 Tips for Homeschooled Teens Going to College – Guest Post

March 7, 2011

Being homeschooled from grade school through high school, I did not have access to as much college application counseling as my peers attending public school did. While many of my friends going to school had teachers, administrators, and counselors offering advice to high school seniors, I, for the most part, had to figure things out on my own with the help of my parents. However, I did have a singular advantage I had the time and focus to rigorously study for the SAT without having to worry about taking state standardized tests or attend a strict set of classes that took up many of my public school peers’ schedules. Here are a few things I did that helped me make it through the application process, culminating in being accepted to several competitive universities:

1. Start practicing for the SAT a year in advance.

While many students find the prospect of taking a timed, standardized test overwhelming, the test itself is not as difficult as many make it out to be. As many have noted before, the SAT does not measure intelligence; it measures you’re ability to take a standardized test. That being said, the only way to excel at the SAT is to take as many practice tests as you can. Buying an SAT guide, like Princeton Review’s or Kaplan’s, can be very helpful in teaching you test-taking strategies. When I took my first official SAT, I had taken maybe 30 or 40 practice tests.

2. Develop adult relationships outside your family in order to get solid recommendations.

Universities understand that homeschooled students won’t be able to provide letters of recommendation from teachers in the traditional sense, but many institutions do require letters from adults who are not relatives. As such, you’ll want to start thinking of adults who can assess your strengths and abilities, whether it’s a piano teacher, a boss from a summer job, a pastor, or a supervisor from a volunteer stint. Don’t ask your recommenders in the last minute (five to six months before the deadline is a good rule of thumb), and be sure to thank them afterwards.

3. Pay special attention to your personal statement.

Unlike many of your high school counterparts, you won’t have traditional venues to express the strength of your academic record, so make sure to take as much advantage of the personal statement as you can, since it’ll be a space in which you can distinguish yourself among other applicants. Write several drafts and show it to others for feedback. Aside from obvious considerations, like making sure it’s error-free, be sure to be creative but not gimmicky, professional but not stilted or pretentious.

4. If you want to qualify for federal aid, be sure to check your state and each school’s guidelines for homeschoolers.

Financial aid can be a huge asset, especially if you are hoping to get into a top-tier school. You could stand to qualify for tens of thousands of dollars in grants (which you don’t have to pay back) as well as loans. Some states require that you take some sort of certification test that stands in for a GED or high school diploma.

These are just a few basic guidelines for homeschoolers who are hoping to apply and enroll in an institution of higher education. Even though you’ll have to go through the application process on your own, by enlisting the support from your parents and your community, as well as doing plenty of your own research, you’ll prove to be as competitive an applicant as any traditional high school student.

Thank you to our guest writer:

Kitty Holman, regularly writes on the topics of nursing colleges.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: kitty.holman20@gmail.com.

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Posted under Homeschool College Prep, Homeschool Teens