7 Ways to Think about College When Homeschooling Part 4

6 - Consider taking college courses concurrently with a homeschool curriculum outside of dual enrollment programs

The benefits of taking college courses, whether online or through on-campus colleges and universities, concurrently with any high school graduation course requirements are compelling. When your student completes college courses while still in high school, they are, in essence, developing a college transcript. These completed courses, particularly if they are ACE-recommended, are eligible for transfer for college credit through ACE  at over 1800 colleges and universities.

Taking online college courses allows for a low-cost pathway to college. Completing enough college courses prior to enrolling in college could quite possibly shave a semester or two off the time it will take to earn a degree. The fewer semesters required for college, the fewer number of tuition payments that need to be made.

Additionally, taking college courses concurrently with a homeschool curriculum makes financial sense considering that students can take self-paced online colleges courses for only $99/month through StraighterLine’s monthly subscription program. With its growing network of partner colleges where college credits are guaranteed to transfer, as well as its ACE recommendation status, students who take college courses through StraighterLine are able to save a significant amount of time and money when it comes time to transfer credits and enroll in college full time.

7. Think of online courses as a low-risk college entry point

Gone are the days where homeschool students were a college-bound rarity. According to the National Home Education Research Institution, there about 2 million school-age home-based educated students.5 Colleges, these days, are taking an active interest in attracting homeschool students to their campus and into their academic programs. In addition, most colleges have clear admissions policies for homeschool students to follow, taking away much of the potential ambiguity that homeschool parents might become concerned about.

Taking online college courses can be a low-risk way to introduce college and college-level academic expectations to your homeschooler. Furthermore, online college classes can provide access to low-cost, high quality, college-level material no matter where you live. Finally, when your student approaches college admissions with college-level coursework already on the transcript, your homeschooler has a leg up – having already proven he or she has what it takes to successfully take college classes.

An Interview with Chase Miller: Homeschool High School to College

Chase Miller, creator of the blog Debt Free Teen (http://www.debtfreeteen.com/) earned enough college credits as a homeschooling high schooler to enter college as a sophomore. Chase is in currently enrolled in the California community college system, and after this year, plans on transferring his community college credits to 4-year Cal State Fullerton where he will enter as a junior.

What are your top tips for homeschoolers taking online classes?

  • Stay organized and print to-do lists. Teachers aren’t there to remind you to get your work done online.
  • Figure out how to use the online interface effectively. Take the time to navigate the system.
  • If you have questions, contact the instructor (or online tutor) immediately. Clarify issues now before you get a bad grade.

What are your tips about navigating the college process?

  • Know how credits are applied if taking dual classes. I ended up taking college courses concurrently online through a community college so I could have credits count towards my college degree even though I was in high school.
  • Also, pay attention to how college courses transfer. I enrolled in an honors program which allowed me priority access to college courses at the community college, critically important here in California where introductory courses frequently become oversubscribed and students are wait listed for college courses they need.

What do you see as the keys to success for homeschoolers taking online college courses?

  • Be motivated.
  • Be organized.

What do you see as the financial benefit of taking college courses online?

Saving tuition and gas money!

5 U.S. News and World Report Education: Home-Schooled Teens Ripe for College, 6/2012, p.1

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