No matter your high school experience, there is no getting around the fact that college is a different ball game. The truth is that every high schooler faces a significant transition when they move on to college.
Most homeschools provide the same education as k-12 schools, but there are other elements to consider that make the transition from homeschool to college uniquely challenging. Here are some changes that may stand out a little more prominently if you are making the move from homeschooling to college life.
Navigating college resources
Colleges and universities are known for providing a wide array of services to their students beyond the classroom experience. From residence halls to counseling services to tutoring centers, there is a department or office for virtually every need.
The challenge when you move from a homeschooling environment to a college campus is knowing how to find and utilise those resources. Be sure to pay attention during orientation events, take note of the resources that seem most useful to you, and try to physically visit as many of those resources as you can during your first term. You won’t regret it.
Relationships with professors and teaching assistants
One of the most intimidating aspects of college life can also be one of the most rewarding: developing relationships with your professors. Just like your parents or at-home educators, professors generally want to help you succeed. The difference, of course, is that professors may have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of students per term.
If you find yourself in any small or medium-sized classes, make an effort to introduce yourself to your professor and establish a line of communication. It will help with the course, and you can start building a relationship that may last for the rest of your academic career. If your classes are very large, it will probably be easier to establish relationships with the teaching assistants. They will be the ones to contact when you need help with studying tips or assignments or tests or anything else.
Hands down the most challenging aspect of transitioning to college is the autonomy. As a homeschooler, you likely have more experience with self-directed learning and time management than many of your public school peers, but college will give you even greater liberty. Parents will not be there to remind you of your school work; there will be less flexibility for special exceptions and due dates.
In college, you are your own manager. It is important to be able to manage your studies and your life outside of school, to live with the balance between school work and socialising. This skill of balancing the demands of school and life will take time to develop, but having a planned schedule will help, as will keeping a consistent sleeping schedule.
Keep in mind that you have put in a lot of work to get where you are and that if you have been admitted to college, you are ready to begin the next step. Keep an open attitude, thank your parents for all they have taught you, and enjoy the ride.
Special thanks to Eileen O’Shanassy for providing us with this article. Eileen is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking, and you can find her on Twitter @eileenoshanassy.