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Homeschooled teens in community college?

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Homeschooled teens in community college?
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Joined: 28 Feb 2007
Posts: 24
Location: Central NJ, USA

Post Homeschooled teens in community college? Reply with quote
(note: I've posted this a couple diffferent places, so please forgive me if you have received it already on another list. Smile )

Hello, Everyone! Hope all are enjoying the end of summer and looking forward to a great year ahead! I have a question for us "veterans"---anyone have any experience with their teens taking courses in community college, positive or negative? My ds is 16, 11th grade, and we're looking at a course in County College for this fall, or spring. My question isn't so much about the procedures of getting him enrolled (thankfully, our cc is very welcoming to homeschools), but about how other teens may have adjusted to college level courses, especially after being homeschooled and not used to classrooms full of other people, etc.

Thanks so much and have a Blessed Day! Smile

Mary in NJ
Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:56 am View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 18 Jun 2007
Posts: 56
Location: Illinois

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We haven't done so yet, but when I talked to an admissions counselor at Ave Maria, she highly suggested taking at least one course at a community college. We will be doing so when my dd is a senior.

The reason she gave is that the homeschooled kids do really well, except for the adjustment to a classroom type experience where they have to take notes and turn assignments in on time. She was even homeschooled, so I know it wasn't a bias against homeschoolers! Laughing

Just a thought! Good luck with your decision.

Changing our world one diaper at a time!
Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:30 am View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 572

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My son has taken four community college classes-one was online so maybe that doesn't count for your purposes. He has a strong personality (stubborn!) and is strong in our faith. I was apprehensive but he did fine. First semester he took Freshman English and the online class. At the beginning, he was worried about his "participation" grade for English class but he eventually warmed up and participated in class discussions. Somewhere in the quarter he figured out that his teacher is Catholic. His on-line instructor is a Christian (denomination unknown).

Second semester, he had a guitar class and computer webpage design class.

So far, he has straight A's. I joke that his college GPA is higher than his Kolbe home school GPA. (In fact he said it was easier to get an A on a composition in his college class than to get an A from his EES advisor!)

He is signed up for two more classes starting Monday the 25th. I hope to have him take Calculus I and another class next spring. He really enjoys the classroom experience and the fact there were several other home schooled students in his Freshman English class helped.

Volunteer Kolbe Parent
Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:18 pm View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 18

Post Homeschool students taking college classes Reply with quote
I've had my 3 kids enroll in our local 4- year University during their junior and senior years in high school. They've all taken Pre-Calculus, then Calculus; Physics then another elective science. They all adjusted fine and all three managed to make A's in all their classes. It was a great adjustment for them to a lecture setting in which they had to take notes. My oldest just completed his Masters and the other two are still in college. I plan on enrolling my youngest as soon as she's a high school junior.
Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:25 pm View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 05 Oct 2006
Posts: 114
Location: Alabama

Post courses at a cc Reply with quote
Our oldest took one course at the end of her senior year (math) to start getting her prerequisites for college out of the way. She had no problems at all and loved the classroom environment. Homeschool was really tough for her. I think she does much better auditorially (I was slow, music major - auditory, it makes sense). Academically, it was a breeze. She was shocked at the number of people who simply did not do their homework and were struggling. She was typically one of the highest grades in the class - even when she was stressed. She also claims the University is easier than my homeschool. She actually wishes she'd taken more of her core before going to University just so she could focus exclusively on her major. Most of the other the other academic scholarship students had lots of AP credits. (We couldn't get any of those since no one would let us test with them). Community college would have been the way to even the playing field a bit.

That being said, she also took courses at the cc this summer (as a college JR)- Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and Human Growth and Development. Again, the goal is just getting those core courses out of the way. She had some stress, but not due to the classroom setting, she has been in a classroom setting for some time now. It was, after all, a very heavy load for summer (14 hours in a very short term due to summer and 2 very short terms that were half the summer each, so they were covering the same material in half the time)but she did really well.

My biggest caution to those doing summer courses is to really check out who is teaching the courses and have some caution with the subject matter. As a college Jr., these courses were fine. I would not have wanted her taking them as a high schooler because of some of the agendas. She did include on one of her surveys something to do with the joke/lectures and the professor did tone down the off color jokes. Biology had a great deal in it that was inaccurate about NFP and of course presented the secular hoopla about that issue and some other moral issues but the teacher was one of the best she had this summer. The biology teacher was fantastic. The chemistry teacher didn't do anything and she basically worked with one other in the class to learn the material and teach it to each other. We learned after the fact that it was common knowledge that if you take chemistry at the cc here, take the daytime class as that professor teaches and avoid the night class. (Not that she would have had much choice anyways). The other two had the same professor, but included the typical attempts to wake the class up and some of that was a bit edgy/inappropriate. He typically had some really good ways to get his point across.

Now this child has always hungered for the classroom and loves it. She had no trouble making sure she participated, and did all the classroom things. It was very natural to her despite none of this at home (something she felt was a real deficit at home other than a single English class with 5 girls).
Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:08 am View user's profile Send private message
Megan Lengyel

Joined: 08 Aug 2006
Posts: 2443
Location: Alpharetta, GA; formerly, Napa, CA; originally St. Louis, MO

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Just a few things to note:

1) Kolbe transfers in CC credits very nicely: 1 semester of CC is 2 semesters of high school credit.
2) Beware of taking too many CC credits. 4 year colleges do view these differently from AP credits and if you have too many CC credits, they could treat your student as a transfer student even as a technical first time college student. Each school has a different threshold for what denotes "too many" so you'll need to investigate your individual school. Being classified as a transfer student can disqualify them for several scholarship opps which are only available to incoming freshman.
3) I think taking a few courses is a really good idea. It sort of "proves" that your student can handle a classroom situation and can give them an edge over another home school student who has not taken a CC course.
4) Not all CC courses are created alike! Any student who has done Kolbe Lit/Hist/Theo or Eng will probably find the intro composition courses a breeze. Whether you feel courses that are a "breeze" are a waste of time or not is up to you. I can see benefits to a student building confidence in the classroom but I also hate to waste time/money on a course that does not raise the bar for your student. Choose your courses wisely, look into the professors teaching it, and also think about what part of your homeschool has lacked in the high school years due to lack or resources (for example, science lab).
5) Not all CC courses will count toward requirements at 4 year schools. This is going to vary widely from school to school and major to major even. If you do a lot of research first, then you will increase your chances that the course will transfer in and actually "count" toward the core or majors courses.


Megan Lengyel
Kolbe Academy Home School
Online Academy Director
Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:58 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website

Joined: 05 Oct 2006
Posts: 114
Location: Alabama

Post CC notes Reply with quote
Aaah, Megan, once again we come bumping up against how each state treats CC credits differently. In our state, duel enrollment is done only with the acknowledgement that these courses counting as full college courses only get 1/2 high school credit (so regardless of Kolbe policy, we could only grant 1/2 credit high school for any cc courses taken while in high school). Everyone signs an agreement to abide by this or you don't get the duel enrollment option. The fees for these college courses are half price, too so it is a great deal - at least for now! If you take these courses as duel enrollment as opposed to after you graduate, then it does not affect how you are treated at our state Universities - you come in as a college freshman with all the same opportunities for scholarships, etc. We know quite a few students who have entered local Universities with 2 years of college credit under their belt. It is a huge financial advantage. (They could not have done this after high school graduation or you do run into the how you are viewed category). If we are careful to only sign up for courses under the STAR program, we know for sure that these courses will transfer to any state university, they cost 1/2 as much and can be taken at either cc or state University and if we take them while still in high school, it does not change our status as incoming freshmen, at least not in Alabama.

Obviously, from what Megan noted, every state and University has a somewhat different way of handling things. Guess the bottom line is to speak with the admissions people at the colleges you would be considering.

My biggest concern with highschoolers taking college courses are the conversations and the joking from the professors. There is a certain amount of exposure that you will get from doing this - some teachers/courses minimize this more than others. As far as coursse content, Maths, chemistry and foreign languages are generally straight forward. You can get some pretty obnoxious stuff in literature, history, social sciences and Biology.

I am not sure it is essential that a student take a CC course just to get used to the classroom. I think a lot will depend on the individual student. My particular child seemed awful about meeting deadlines, etc. at home. She jumped right in to college life away from home and had no difficulty whatsoever her freshman year. Everything we heard was in terms of how wonderful it all was, how much she loved classroom learning. She even advised her younger sister to convince me to let her skip high school and go straight to college, it was tons easier. This is not something we would allow, of course, but it was interesting to note. Following a schedule with enhanced evaluation would do the job of meeting assignment deadlines as well or better than the cc. I guess what I am trying to say is that a cc option has some great financial advantages, does a lot to even the playing field in areas of strength not in a child's major by getting these particular core courses out of the way and can provide benefits to individual families. But there are other considerations to weigh as well, and other ways to achieve some of the getting used to a classroom type of thing.

Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:36 am View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 145

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Yes, particulars on this vary by state! And, while most people do advise that a homeschooled student get some college classroom experience I have also read that others caution this for bright students for fear that they will begin to think that college is as "easy" as cc. Wish I could put my finger on that article that discussed this latter point but I've lost the bookmark.

We've gone around and around on this decision too. But, we are testing the waters with one college course starting next week. We were originally going for two with one of them being "college chemistry" but when I looked into it further it was a course that used a one-semester non-science majors chem book (those are rare!) for the "main" college chem course for science and engineering. The dual enrollment course was actually taught at the high school ( no way was my ds going into THAT place) and was the AP course for which the students automatically got college credit. That was a new twist for me.

So far, my experience with all this has taught me that selecting the right course and teacher is a priority if you decide to do it. I won't just assume these courses are at the college level even though they are "through" a college! And, if it turns out that the material is too easy, I just may not have ds do any further college courses despite all the college admission counselors suggestions.

Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:02 pm View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 23 Jul 2007
Posts: 1

Post home schoolers taking college courses Reply with quote
Hi, I have two daughters (19 & 21) currently enrolled fulltime in the local community college. I too was very apprehensive, but they scored very well on the entrance exam and placed directly into college level courses. This spring they will both graduate with AA degrees in business management and are in the process of deciding were and how to afford a transfer. They are both in the PTK or "honor society" and are hoping that will help with possible scholarships. I am surprised how many home schooled students they run into and after being home for 12 years, they are becoming active in the some of the school's extra-curricular activities (a bit of a social life). One of my daughters was offered a job in the student support center and works there as well. They did not take dual enrollment while being home schooled, but have had duel enrollement, home schooled students in some of the classes. I think it was a wonder decision where to start a college career, esp. when both of them did not know what they wanted to do or what to major in.
Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:47 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
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