Can You Homeschool College?|
There is a common assumption - even
amongst homeschoolers - that High School is the "end of the line" for homeschooling.
But, that's simply not true.
And there's another assumption that college needs to cost a lot of money - that's not always true, either.
(A little note for international readers: the words "college" and "university" are virtually interchangeable in everyday American speech - I am using the word "college" here to mean both college AND university)
In my opinion, college is different from high school, in that there is a legitimate need to have an institution document learning. So, in that way, homeschooling college differs from homeschooling at the Primary and Secondary levels.
There are many reasons a parent might choose to "send a child off" to college: networking, learning under a certain professor, taking a specific program that only one university offers, learning a hands-on profession that must be mentored and practiced (like, say, brain surgery or musical performance).
But, there are many reasons NOT to send a child off to college! The spiritually, psychologically and academically damaging "party" atmosphere at many universities, the promotion of an anti-Christian worldview at many universities, and the high costs are just a few.
If a child is academically ready to learn college level material at perhaps 15, but too young to live independently or deal with the pressures of a full course load, homeschooling college might be a great alternative.
I can already hear the nay-sayers arguing that "you can't shield them from the 'real world' forever!" Which is very true! But, my experience and observation of modern undergrad dorm life is that it is about as far from the real adult world as one can get. Thousands of young people without adult responsibility, such as being required to support themselves and pay for their own bills, without accountability to parents any longer, but WITH lots of money and freedom - is a recipe for disaster.
Of course young people will be out on their own - as responsible adults - when that is appropriate. But going off to grad school alone, taking a job in a distant city, or building a home with a family is much truer "real life" than undergrad dorm or fraternity life ever was.
Over the years, I have become familiar with various methods of gaining college credit - or even a full degree - from home.
There are FOUR basic steps you need to complete:
1) Learn about the process
There are a few YouTube Channels that go into great detail on how to get this done. Once you subscribe to a couple, of course, YouTube will suggest more. These are my favorites:
This one also has some great info on choosing majors, and various professional certifications:
Consider falling down the proverbial rabbit hole on my Pinterest board on this topic:
2) Choose a "Regionally Accredited" University that offers the degree you want, and accepts a high number of transfer credits (most universities listed here accept 90 transfer credits toward a bachelor's degree). Each of the Third party providers in #3, below, have "Partner Universities." Explore those pages to find a university that suits your needs.
Here are some to investigate:
Thomas A. Edison State University
This is my own Alma Mater, I completed my degree there while living abroad in a location where
traditional university wasn't an option. I found myself well prepared
for graduate work after graduating from Thomas Edison. They offer remote classes, credit by
exam, and credit assessment for learning accomplished outside of class,
among other options. They're fully accredited. Prices were VERY
Excelsior College -accepts an unusually high number of transfer credits
Western Governors University - offers a special "Competency Based" learning program, with an unusual tuition structure which encourages acceleration.
3) Earn as many transfer credits as you can from "ACE Recommended" third party or inexpensive providers
College Level Examination Program and For a reasonable fee, MUCH less than tuition for a similar class, you can take one of these exams and gain credits which are accepted by many colleges and universities. Some colleges accept many - some few - so talk to your desired institution and see which ones they will accept - or chose an institution that accepts more of them. I used these exams for a substantial portion of my Bachelor's degree. I graduated debt free : )
DSST - like CLEP, but offers more niche courses & upper level courses. Originally designed by the government for military members, these tests are now available to civilians. I've taken many of these.
a "Third Party Provider" that offers various courses worth A.C.E.
Recommended College Credit, and has a very reasonable monthly
subscription rate. These courses can be done quickly, which is a great
advantage. There are lots of YouTube videos about how to plan carefully
to do several of these courses in a month, - like this woman who did TEN classes in a month! That's 30 credits - normally a full year of schooling!
(she does not live in the US, so her university choice is not
"regionally accredited" and probably wouldn't be as good a choice for
you if you're a US citizen)
Study.Com another "Third Party Provider" that offers various courses worth A.C.E. Recommended College Credit, and has a slightly higher monthly subscription rate. These courses take a little longer than Sophia Courses. They offer more "upper level" and specialty courses than Sophia.org does.
Another great option that I am personally familiar with is Modern States
- also known as "First Year of College Free". At Modern States - for
free - you can watch a full course of lectures, read a free textbook,
and answer practice questions. When you are done, put in a request for a
voucher and they offer to PAY for your CLEP exam to gain college
credits for what you have studied! This wonderful service is provided by
Philanthropist Steven Klinsky, who wants to make college more
accessible for everyone. The courses we have used on Modern States are not as well taught or organized as Sophia or Study.com, but the price is perfect, and the free practice tests are very helpful.
InstantCert - for great help preparing for CLEP and DSST exams, at a very reasonable monthly subscription price. We have used and liked this one.
Note - some of their courses offer exam credit that is transferable - some do not. VERY inexpensive.
of their courses offer college credit, and they offer some degree
programs, too! And some of those are from top name universities!
Community Colleges offer many of the same courses as 4 year colleges - often for about 1/4 the price. Staying home and commuting for the first two years can be a great option for many. It's not homeschooling, but it can be a nice transition. Many programs offer the added benefit of qualifying graduates in a trade. This way, they can work in their target field in while schooling continues. For instance, if your student wants to be a Dentist one day, he or she might benefit from learning to be a Dental Hygenist or Assistant at community college. Then, while working for the additional degrees, that part-time job can be a resume and experience builder - and also pay much more than many jobs other undergrads can get. Likewise, the aspiring lawyer can become a paralegal first, and the aspiring nurse-anesthetist can become an LPN or RN first through community college training. Beware, sometimes community college courses contain objectionable material, or involve interacting with adult classmates in a way that some teens may not be prepared for.
4) Enroll in your chosen school after earning your transfer credits, and complete the remaining requirements.
If you have a student who REALLY wants that "going off to college" experience, but wants to avoid student debt, investigate these two schools:
On the other hand, if you just want to learn, and don't care about a degree, there ARE wonderful courses online for free from many universities -Just search for "MOOC" (Massive Open Online Course) to find lists like this:
One last note - beware of Diploma Mills and College Debt. The College you choose should be "Regionally Accredited" if you are in the US. If the college you're looking at has tuition rates that are very high or preposterously low, admits students without sufficient proof that they are ready for advanced studies, or offers "easy" or "quick" degrees - beware! Make sure they're regionally accredited. Check their reviews online. I still remember meeting a colleague years ago, who had gone to a disreputable college, and who was devastated that she had paid three times as much as I had to get a degree, but was completely unprepared for the professional world. Make sure you do your research!
But, with a little research, and some well chosen resources, homeschooling part or all of college can be done! : )