February 9, 2009

Preparing for College--Try Auditing

home school college scholarshipBettina at Life Without School has a great post about home schoolers getting into college, especially those who follow a more unschooling, interest-led approach. It's called "Some Practical Advice on College Entrance" and it's excellent, with plenty of links you'll need about a year before you start applying. Here's the link to all the posts about college on that blog.

I don't think college is necessary for every student. Many people are very successful without a degree, but I want my kids to go to college. I think it gives them something to fall back on, a credential to pull out of their back pocket if they need it. Maybe someday the US government will require homeschooling parents to have a college degree, and I want them to be prepared. Here I am, already thinking of grandkids!

We're doing something unusual this semester. Meg, my high school junior, knows two professors at our local university. One is her dad and the other is her friend's mom, and she's sitting in on their classes. Most schools will allow auditing if the professor agrees. She won't get college credit for it (we'd have to pay for that), but she is getting a feel for what is expected at college and she's learning the course material. She's also developing an academic relationship with a college professor outside the family. That will mean a lot when she needs a recommendation for college applications. Her dad teaches aural training (sight-singing) and her friend's mom teaches "Life Cycle Development." That's an introduction to human psychology and development. She loves it and even has to write some papers. The teacher has agreed to grade her papers, even though she's auditing.

If you live in a college town, this could be a great opportunity for your child to get a head start on the college world and a way to add something to her high school transcript. You can list the class on her transcript and give her the grade yourself, based on your standards, or you can use the grade the teacher gives. If you don't know a professor, call the college admissions office and ask about auditing. Most schools have experience with this and will tell you who to contact.

Related Posts

Homeschooling and College Scholarships
(includes a transcript blank)

Should I Home School High School?

Bring College into Your Home School

My Unschooler at College series


Unknown said...

Great post! I feel for my nephews. Their mom and grandfather went off about how useless a degree is. It was all I could do not to lose it. I'm sure when I'm not around they have a lot to say about unschooling as well!

Anonymous said...

I think with an unschooler's attitude, college would be useful to anyone. Unfortunately, a lot of people go in with a credentialist attitude -- I need this piece of paper to get me a good job. And a college degree is NOT job training. Nor should it be. Of course we live in a credentialist world, so I think your degree as back up plan is sound.

And I love the suggestion to get kids to audit courses. Great idea.

Our local university has a program for gifted kids (or maybe just bright kids) where grade 11 and 12 kids can do one or two college courses for a very reasonable price as "enrichment" to their schooling. They can choose whether or not to get credit. But it means that some kids can have some college credit under their belt before they finish high school.

Jena said...

Traci and Jove, thanks for your comments. This topic of college or not is interesting, I think. A lot of public high schools offer dual credit classes. If a child can enroll in one of those classes, the college credit would be free. But I know not all high schools are open to home schoolers. JoVe, that's cool about your college. Our local college is a little befuddled by high schoolers wanting to take classes--home schooled or not.

Karen said...

We are a long way from college, but reading this post, and Bettina's, is very heartening! I love the idea of auditing classes, I think it would probably take some of the 'fear of the unknown' away and prepare kids for what to expect.
Thanks -

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this info - I've been bookmarking many of your links etc - with 2 getting close to college years, I need all the prep help I can muster.

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