This year my second oldest child will be applying for college. I got off easy with my oldest, who decided to attend community college for two years before attending university. I’ve been researching how to help my kids apply for college for several years, but still I have been caught off guard by some of hoops homeschoolers have to jump through in order to apply to colleges. In all honesty, the students don’t have that much extra to do, but we parents have to do all the work that public schools usually do. Except, it is not a streamlined process for us.
So I thought I would start a series of posts about homeschooling through high school, in particular, addressing applying to college.
With that said, the first thing I wanted to do is to encourage everyone to reconsider whether or not college is the right option for your student. As homeschoolers, we obviously are people who question society’s norms, yet many of us still find ourselves acting as if college is a given in life. In fact, in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Marty Nemko states that 70% of high school graduates now attend college, which is up from 40% in 1970. The question that arises, therefore, is how many people actually need to go to college. Is it necessary for contractors to go to college? What about an entrepreneur? What about Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, both of whom have done quite well, despite having dropped out of college? Do the benefits post-college outweigh the money not earned due to waiting four years (or more) to start a career, plus the cost of college itself?
Not only can I not answer these and other questions about college for you, but you cannot answer them for your student. You can sway your child though, attempt to guide him in the direction you would have him go. So it is important to consider if college is the right decision for him.
I do not want to be seen as a college naysayer. I went to college, my husband also went, but did not graduate (note that he is the one in the family who makes the big bucks). My two oldest children are/will attend college. My 3rd starts community college through a high school program this fall, but does not plan to pursue college beyond her last two years of high school. I just want to remind people that abstaining from college does not mean that you cannot have a successful, fulfilled, and happy life. There are other options… such as:
- Two-year college programs
- Technical/certificate programs at community and technical colleges
- Vocational programs at community and technical colleges
- Entry-level positions
- Distance learning programs
- Homeschooling/unschooling college (the next wild frontier that some homeschoolers are exploring)
If you are interested in reading more these issues, I highly recommend The Uncollege Alternative: Your Guide to Incredible Careers and Amazing Adventures Outside College by Danielle Wood.