I understand homeschool mom anxiety. I am a teacher and a homeschool mom who has struggled with the college question. And, I get this question ALL the time; “Can my homeschooled kid get into college?”
It is usually accompanied by explaining how the homeschool parent has made unconventional decisions about their kids’ education (check, you homeschool). What I hear through all of the details is Homeschool Mom Anxiety:
Did I do enough?
Did I focus on suitable material, subject or lesson?
Can my kid compete?
Can my kids hold their own once they start interacting with a group of peers?
Let me assure you, your kid CAN get into college.
While Homeschool Mom Anxiety can be Intense, Let’s Look at the Facts.
- Homeschool standardized test scores are generally higher than public school test scores overall.
- Homeschooled students score about 72 points higher than the National Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) average.
- The average American College Test (ACT) score is 21. The average score for homeschoolers is 22.8 out of a possible 36 points.
- Homeschoolers are at the 77th percentile on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
Homeschoolers have also consistently won.
- Scripps Spelling Bee
- Apangea Math Contest
- 3M Young Scientist Challenge
- National Geographic Bee
- USA Mathematical Olympiad
So, yes, homeschooled students can get into college, compete well and succeed in traditional performance-based environments and competitions.
Homeschooled students go to college, university, Ivy League schools, Conservatories, Military Academies, and everywhere else public school kids go.
Speaking of colleges and homeschool mom anxiety, what are the expectations of college admissions boards?
Test Scores, Transcripts, Community Service, Extracurriculars, the Students Stand-Out Factor, essays, and references. They’ll look at the package they ask the student to submit, and then they’ll accept or deny your student entrance to their school.
Post-Covid, the path to college acceptance is shorter than ever before. My youngest daughter got accepted into a private college with a hefty discount based on the application and a homeschool transcript. That’s it. No test scores, references, or other supporting documentation is necessary.
In my experience, parents have been asking the wrong questions, particularly since 2020.
The more relevant TWO QUESTIONS homeschooling families need to be asking are
- How will my kid pay for college?
- Is college essential?
The Rising Costs of College
If you’ve been following college costs for the past couple of years, you realize that they have skyrocketed. For the 2021-2022 academic year, the average price of tuition and fees came to:
- $38,070 at private colleges
- $10,740 at public colleges (in-state residents), not including room, board, and expenses
- $27,560 at public colleges (out-of-state residents)
With additional fees for room and board, which average to:
- $13,620 at private colleges
- $11,950 at public colleges
You read that right.
It costs between $22,000 to $51,000 PER YEAR to attend college.
Since most kids don’t generally have $100- $200,000 laying around, and the expected rate of parent contribution is often ridiculous, student loans are often the go-to.
You’ve heard me say it before, the average college student graduates in six years, not four, with an average of $37,000 in debt.
But approximately 40% of students who start college drop out, and many have already incurred debt. Debt cannot be bankrupted; it increases exponentially if the payer takes a forbearance or deferment. Debt can financially cripple a young adult for life.
Holy Buckets, Batman! That’s a lot of responsibility for most young adults, many of whom have never made a significant purchase before college.
Is College the Next Best Step?
For those who believe college is the best next step, I would encourage parents to help their young adults run a cost/ benefit analysis. Talk to someone in the working world who is in their potential career field and consider pay/ benefits and vocational costs in terms of time and money. What will be the actual ROI (Return on Investment) of their college degree?
Dave Ramsy says it so much better than I do in Borrowed Future, an excellent documentary on the crazy debt that begins incurred the lack of intense scrutiny that parents and young adults should be bringing to bear on college costs and degree ROI.
And it’s not that there are no scholarships and opportunities that will bring college costs down. Still, since 2020, even scholarships have gotten thin, as people’s regular giving and contribution habits have changed.
College costs are not limited to financial debt but can have long-lasting effects on a student’s worldview, politics, faith, and so much more. While college classes might not instigate change for students, extracurricular activities are. And with college students spending less than 3 hours a day on academics and more than ever before on “Student Life” that guides students towards socialism and secularism, it’s time to rethink college in the traditional sense.
Anti-Education I am Not
Look, besides having five kids, my husband and I have five graduate degrees between us; we are hardly education averse. We both love to learn and have raised five inquisitive auto-didacts. But times, they are a-changing, and it’s time to get innovative and creative about education, degrees, and vocational training.
And who better to do that than homeschooling families? We’re so used to thinking outside the box that this should be second nature for us.
Is College Necessary?
In the past, having a degree paid dividends for the student. You can bank on the financial benefits of having a degree, and the more advanced a degree one holds; generally, the higher salary one makes. But most of the articles and charts that this information is based on don’t consider the financial debt and burden of student loans.
In the past, getting a degree was about so much more than just earning a piece of paper. It was the traditional pathway to adulthood for many of us, and we launched our career success as adults. Many of us met lifelong friends, not to mention our spouses in college, discovered artistic and intellectual areas of interest and passion, and, just as importantly, we learned how to learn.
Without college, how will our young adults find friends suitable mates and hone their intellectual pursuits and abilities? I talk to Moms from all over the country every week, and I can assure you I’m not alone in my query.
It’s Time to Develop the Art of Non-conformity
As if we haven’t done so already, being homeschoolers and all. Look, the world has changed and continues to change. You’ve heard me talk about this 4th Industrial Revolution that we’re in, right? And with every revolution, careers and industries die, and extraordinary opportunities and fortunes are to be made. But, it’s also a time of upheaval, so old ways and paths just might not work or be worth the price to be paid.
Ease Your Homeschool Mom Anxiety and Re-negotiate What College Looks Like
College is a worthy pursuit, but there is no reason to do it all on campus. Dual Enrollment, CLEP, and Community College classes can get your kids ahead for pennies on the dollar. And while DE is limited to pre-high school graduation, CLEP exams can be done even while students attend college classes. Also, parents, it’s never too late to talk to your kids about finishing college in 4 years or less. The longer they are in college, the higher the cost or debt. So, finishing sooner than later saves them time and money.
Everybody needs Entrepreneurship
In my reading and studying on the future of work and education, one topic that comes up repeatedly is Entrepreneurship. It’s so crucial that some colleges require students to take Entrepreneurship as part of their required program credits. And Peter Thiel, former PayPal CEO who created the Thiel Fellowship, is so committed to Entrepreneurship that he offers 24 students two years and $100,000 to get things done.
Former Homeschooler and pageant winner Samantha Shank created materials for educators, has a successful TpT store, and is currently graduating with an M.S. in Education debt-free. She wants to purchase her first home, financed by her TpT store and website.
With online tools, entrepreneurship is easier than ever to jump into. Of course, time-honored ways of making money still exist, like clearing houses (my sister and I cleaned houses all through high school, making $30-$50 way back in the day), lawn service, and babysitting. But, there are so many new ways to earn a buck now, too- like selling on Teacher’s Pay Teachers.
And while certain degrees and fields might require higher education, like the medical and legal professions, even those fields are changing with innovative AI and robotic development. What’s needed for licensure or certification now, but be different in the field in 5-10 years.
Develop Marketable Skills
While not everyone’s cut out to be an entrepreneur, making room in your junior and senior high school schedule to develop marketable skills just makes good sense. At the very least, your kids are creating a robust transcript, and they might even be discovering a lifelong passion, vocational path, or lucrative side- hustle that pays their way through college, as Samantha Shank discovered.
Homeschool Mom Anxiety
While we live through a time of shifting and upheaval, we don’t need to worry about our kids getting into college. The relevant questions, particularly post-2020, are:
- How will they pay for it
- Is it worth it given what they will pursue vocationally
Entrepreneurship and Marketable Skills Training are two sure-fire ways to set your kids on the path to Future Success!
If you are looking for skills training for your tween or teen, particularly in marketable skills that are applicable now, check out our wide variety of classes that allow kids to make money now: Entrepreneurship, Video Editing, Photoshop, Computer Science, Computer Illustrator, Graphic Design and more!