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Preparing Well to Thrive in College

Hello! My name is Jordan, and I’m one of you. I was homeschooled, and now I work in a college admissions office. After having too many heartbreaking conversations with visiting homeschool families who felt overwhelmed by what they didn’t know about the college admission process, I requested to specifically work with all of our homeschool applicants in order to ease concerns. For the past four years, I’ve been traveling around the southeast and guiding homeschool families through the college search.

4 Things That Will Help You Thrive in College

While there are many things homeschoolers should be doing to prepare for college, here are four things I believe every homeschooler should do in high school to thrive in college.

  • Spend your time wisely. Outside of your studies, you are afforded time to explore interests, be curious, and dive into passions. The very first time I visited a college campus was for an Honor Reading Choir. I was in the 8th grade, and I spent three days on campus, in classrooms, learning from professors, seeing what their teaching style was like, and imagining myself in that classroom, on that campus.  Being homeschooled affords you the time to plug into all of your interests.  As homeschoolers, time is on your side and resumes prove that. They can show how you took full advantage of your time and speak volumes about your work ethic as well as interests beyond the classroom.
  • Visit schools early! Hopefully, your interests and activities will lead you to a college campus or two; but if not, you must seek them out. Now, why is this important? Because when I was there, I could easily see myself attending college. College was no longer this imaginary place where I had been told I would attend after high school. It was real, and these “college kids” were real too. I could see myself with them. I could see myself in that environment. It was possible, and not only could I do it, I wanted it! The more time I spent on college campuses, the less college became my parents’ dream for me and the more it started to become my dream for myself. By the time I was applying, I had a good idea of what I wanted in a school and what was going to be a good fit for me, from the size of the school to the teaching style of the professors. That information is ideal for beginning your college search and determining what is going to be the right fit for you.
  • Don’t say no to field trips once you get to high school. It’s an easy activity to eliminate when your schedule fills up with more rigorous classes and your extracurricular activities demand more of your time. But take the time while you still can experience this as a student and as a family; that’s important, too. Family time is what you’ll miss most after you leave for school. And if you need an academic reason: all problem solving first begins with observation. It’s a vital skill to notice the world around you.
  • Hone the writing skills now. College is a long sequence of book reports and short answers. Nothing will serve you better than spending time sharpening your communication skills. Not only will this protect you from the antisocial homeschooler trope, but you will find more allies than enemies in every new situation if you can express yourself clearly.

One More Tip

My final trade secret is that admission counselors are a wonderful, available resources for your college questions. My favorite part of my job is answering the “scary” college questions for families and showing them how easy this process is when it’s not a last-minute thought. So, feel free to contact your local admission counselor and ask them early and often about dual enrollment, test scores, transcript formats, and anything else that make you nervous. We’re always happy to help!

Jordan Crenshaw
Associate Director of Admission
Birmingham-Southern College

Learn More About Birmingham-Southern College

Birmingham-Southern College seeks students who desire to lead lives of significance. Our students expect to be challenged and changed by what they’re studying; to have a living educational experience. This service-learning college believes that your degree is not just a piece of paper to stick on you wall, but an understanding of the world and how you can work within it. BSC believes that’s what living a life of significance means—the ability to better yourself and your community.

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