Emma Folts, a sophomore at Wheaton College, shares her experience about her transition into college and how homeschool has both helped and hindered her.
How has your homeschool experience benefitted you, especially in your transition into college?
I think the one thing that homeschooling did that was really helpful as I entered college was that it taught me time management. As a homeschooler I had the same freedom as a college student has to put things off during the day and go see a friend instead. Since I had that experience, I knew the cost of that.
Also, personal responsibility and accountability with assignments. I feel like a lot of the other students had more expectations for gentler grading and that the professor would give them retakes or extensions, but that wasn’t something that ever happened to me in school. That learning curve wasn’t added because I never had it the other way. I think another thing was that because I was homeschooled, I was familiar with the format of teaching and then studying on my own.
Did you see any issues with your transition socially?
I think that homeschooling had two ramifications for me socially. One was helpful, one was hurtful.
It was really helpful because as a homeschooler, I had spent a lot of time realizing and developing who I was as a person and learning to recognize people who were being themselves, and those were the people I sought out as friends. Friendship as a homeschooler takes a lot more investment. I knew I was choosier with my friends which made me a lot less anxious and a lot more content.
The only real negative impact of the social bit was that I was really used to getting to choose the time I got to spend with people. As a homeschooler I spent a lot of time with people, but that time was controlled by me. As a college student, I found that you can’t really control the time you spend with people and alone time is not really available. Learning to deal with that was a lot harder than anticipated.
Any last comments on homeschool and how it has affected your college experience?
I think homeschooling is really helpful, however it does take a slightly increased amount of advocacy with your peers when you’re entering into college. I think a lot of people come in with certain assumptions about homeschool, especially students. You’re going to get a lot of, ‘oh my gosh, you don’t seem like a homeschooled person!’ [You can’t] take that too personally and explain your experience so that friends can understand it’s an important piece of you, though it might not look like the homeschooling that they’ve seen.
My encouragement to anyone who is a homeschooler transitioning into college is to realize the benefit that you have having been homeschooled, and to realize that the bit of advocacy and explaining that you need to do with your peers is totally normal and that it’s not a big deal. Once they understand your experience, it’s not something I’ve experienced being looked down on for.