Creating an Individualized Plan for College

Creating an Individualized Plan for College

When I travel to homeschool co-ops and conventions, I always smile when I talk to homeschool moms – they begin planning for college when their students are in eighth grade! Homeschool families are known for planning ahead, and Liberty provides all the resources to facilitate such a strategy. Below are the top three college-planning questions I receive as a homeschool representative, along with the pertinent answers for your student’s individualized plan.

1. What kind of transcript are colleges looking for?

Most institutions of higher education are very accepting of homeschooled students. With homeschooling growing seven times faster than public and private education, colleges are seeing a rising number of homeschool graduates joining the student body. This said, admissions offices are looking for some specific information on a homeschool transcript.

The most important aspect of a homeschool transcript (or any transcript, public or private) is to provide documentation that the student has met your state’s requirements for high school graduation. If the student has not yet graduated, list the classes taken and credits achieved up to that point in time, along with a prospective graduation date. At Liberty, the Admissions Office requests parents to list each class, the credits the class is worth, along with a letter and number grade (e.g., A= 4.0). An example of such a homeschool transcript can be found on Liberty’s website at this link.

LU also requires a “homeschool addendum” that can be helpful to include on a transcript regardless of where the student is applying. The addendum is simply a statement declaring your homeschool has complied with all state regulations for homeschooling and includes the signature of the school supervisor – either you or your spouse.

2. Where do I start creating a plan for college?

Planning for college can be very intimidating, but with a liberal arts education there is some flexibility of planning for the first two years. The first step is to narrow down a program of study. This does not mean your student needs to select a major at 16 years old! Rather, it is a process of elimination: nursing and engineering degrees require prerequisites that English and government do not. By eliminating those programs your student is not interested in you can begin planning for their first year of general education courses.

The Registrar’s Office at LU utilizes a form called a “Degree Completion Plan”. This plan lists all the courses required for graduation from a particular program (click this link for degree plans). The left side of the plan lists the general education courses, and the right side lists major requirements specific to the program. Concentrate on the general education credits: the English, math, natural sciences, arts and history classes. These can be taken through dual enrollment (online through Liberty’s EDGE program or at your local community college, or both!), College Level Examination Program (CLEP) testing, and Bible courses can be taken through Liberty’s Homeschool Advantage Program (found at this link).

3. How do I choose between CLEP, dual enrollment, Homeschool Advantage, and other options?

As a homeschool graduate, one of the reasons I believe Liberty is THE choice for homeschool families is because we offer every opportunity for students to individualize their college education – just as they do in high school! By utilizing the aforementioned degree completion plans, you can choose which general education classes you wish to dual enroll versus CLEP. For a student who is proficient in English and writing, a college level English 101 class would likely be below their ability. Passing the College Composition CLEP test rewards that proficiency with three college credits in English 101. If a student excels in math beyond your ability to teach him, you can dual enroll him in Liberty’s EDGE program to earn high school credit and college credit at the same time (at a third the cost of the same class after high school). Finally, Liberty’s Homeschool Advantage Program allows students to finish five Bible courses (part of Liberty’s required core) at a discounted rate.

Homeschooling is about individualized education and discipleship. Liberty’s goal to “train champions for Christ in every vocation echoes the discipleship focus of home education, and the resources available as you continue this planning process allow you to individualize your child’s higher education just as you did for their first 18 years.

With all this information, the planning process can still be overwhelming. As Liberty’s homeschool representative, I am able to connect you with the offices and people you need to continue creating a college strategy that fits your family and student’s educational goals. You can email me, Phylicia Masonheimer, at [email protected] for more information. Our website also houses all the information you need on homeschool applicants, transferring, and financial aid.