Over 2 million students in the United States are learning at home, a 75% increase since 1999. And the fastest growing segment of homeschooling at 29% are in high school, according to the U.S. Department of Education and the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. With over 1.7 million high school students in California, it is estimated that over 50,000 of our state’s high schoolers are at-home learners.
Because these numbers are growing, Providence Christian College sponsored the Teen Track at the Christian Homeschool Educators Association (CHEA) Conference in Pasadena in July for the second year in a row. Plus, the college now offers a Homeschool Scholarship for entering freshmen that rewards their homeschool experience and can discount their tuition up to $5,000 each year of their college experience.
“We value the discipline of their homeschool educations,” adds Providence President Dr. Jim Belcher. “And we know that statistically they outperform other traditional students in a college setting.” Belcher is referring to research on homeschooled student experiences conducted by Michael Cogan, the director of Institutional Research at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Cogan’s data found that homeschooled students entered college with higher than average ACT scores and, when in college, their GPA averages were higher than other students, and that holds true throughout their college tenure with homeschooled seniors averaging GPAs of 3.46 compared to 3.16 of other students. Moreover, homeschool students graduated from college at a higher rate 66.7% than traditional students at 57.5%.
At the convention, Providence provided tips for homeschoolers to prepare for college:
- Start early – you should begin thinking about college at age 14 or 15
- Network with other college bound homeschoolers to expand your pool of knowledge
- Don’t assume you can’t afford private college since academic merit and other scholarships are readily available
- Focus on math and verbal skills so you can excel in one and score above average in the other
- Showcase your strength nurturing the one area where you have natural aptitude and ability
- Add extracurricular activities to show you are well-rounded
- Prepare for college entrance exams by starting with the PSAT
- Collect college credits by taking AP tests, CLEP or DANTES exams
- Take aptitude and personality tests to know your strengths and help direct your future career concentrations
- Give back through community service since college admissions counselors will take a second look at kids who volunteer to help out their community.