4 Tips For Transitioning From Homeschooling to College - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Early College
August 24, 2016

4 Tips For Transitioning From Homeschooling to College

Homeschooled kids are often among the brightest and most hardworking students to enter the college environment. However, they are not always prepared for the social element of college or the shift from constant one-on-one attention to larger class sizes. While these changes can be a struggle for any student, they may be more jarring for those who never pursued traditional public or private education. Most homeschooled students thrive in college, with research indicating that these students actually achieve higher grade point averages their freshman counterparts. Are you nervous to make the transition? Perhaps you are a parent who is nervous for your child?  If so, try implementing the following suggestions and get ready for a fulfilling experience:

1. Get involved in student organizations

Loneliness is a harsh reality for many homeschooled students, who often enjoy closer relationships with their family members than their college peers. However, college offers the perfect opportunity to build a new, on-campus family. Establishing relationships with your residence hall neighbors is a great start, but if you find additional structure conducive to building friendships, consider joining an athletic team or some other student organizationNot only will you establish strong connections with your fellow college students, you'll be able to explore areas of interest that may not have been available during your homeschooling years. Most schools have a student engagement center to help you find these opportunities. Geneva College, for example, has dozens of student-led groups and over 200 activities for you to connect with your peers.

2. Don’t be just a face in the crowd

After a lifetime of one-on-one attention, it can be a struggle to suddenly switch to larger classes. Even the small class sizes at private colleges may seem disconcerting. One easy way to personalize the experience is to hit up your professors during office hours. In reality, your professors want nothing more than to see you succeed -- they'll be thrilled if you reach out. Not only will this make the academic rigor of college easier to bear, you just might emerge with a great reference to use when you embark on the post-graduation job search.

3. Connect with other homeschoolers

You may be surprised by how many homeschooled students you meet at college. While homeschoolers only account for a small percentage of college students, they are increasingly prevalent on campus, particularly at Christian universities. If you do not encounter any other homeschoolers in person, consider joining an online forum designed for students in your particular situation. You'll receive excellent advice from people who know exactly what you're going through -- and you just might land yourself a great new pen pal.

4. Take advantage of counseling and other services

If, despite following the above steps, you're still feeling overwhelmed, consider joining a support group or pursuing one-on-one counseling. College counseling centers offer a variety of affordable services designed to address everything from homesickness to poor body image. If you attend support group sessions, you can benefit not only from the feedback of a professional, but also gain insight and inspiration from other students.  Remember that you are not alone in your college journey so use your available resources. 

5. Add Faith to your curriculum

Your world is going to be different from what you are used to, so make sure you are anchored on a firm foundation of faith. Find a church home. Become part of a Bible Study group. Find time to pray. These Christian disciplines are key to making your family’s faith your own and living it every day even in your new home.

The transition from homeschooling to college may initially seem overwhelming, but with a strong support group, you can truly thrive in this unfamiliar, yet exciting environment. Ultimately, this transition will leave you better prepared for the challenges you'll face when you graduate from college and enter the workforce.  Who knows, this might also inspire you to help other homeschooled kids who might face the same challenges you did.

Many homeschooled college students attend Geneva College each year.  We understand the struggles you might face as a student or parent.  For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your goals, contact us at 855-979-5563 or admissions@geneva.edu.