Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday I was taking nature walks, collecting little creatures in jars, and teaching phonics lessons. Now I’m entering a different season as my husband and I begin to research colleges with my oldest son.

A part of me is sad to see those years gone, yet this is an exciting time to look forward to as I see my child grow into adulthood.

In preparing for this time, there are several things parents can do to help their children in this journey. For example, making sure our son was well-prepared for standardized testing was very helpful. High scores on these tests can turn into scholarship dollars. There are also websites, such as Fastweb, that are helpful in finding different scholarships available. Working on writing skills has also been advantageous for college entrance essays and standardized testing.

Taking advantage of a homeschool speech and debate club in our area has proved to help our son immensely, giving him more confidence in his speaking abilities as well as helping with interviews at colleges. Additionally, logging service hours and keeping track of extracurricular activities has been beneficial for his college resume.

Since this is my first child that will be graduating high school, I have had to learn and research a great deal about colleges. I’m glad we have started these visits early in his junior year. It has helped tremendously. My husband and I have also had extensive conversations with our son about his future and what he is wanting in a college. Some of the questions we have encountered have been:

  • What scholarships are available?
  • Does he want to be close to home?
  • Is class size important as well as being able to have frequent interaction with professors?
  • Are the college’s values consistent with his?
  • What will the entrance requirements be for home educators?
  • What is the culture of the dorm life, and are there other options available?
  • What percentage of students find jobs after graduation?
  • Are there opportunities for research and internships?
  • Are the academics strong in the primary area of study?

Of course, these are just a few of the many questions we brought with us as we made our visits.

We have found a typical college visit usually includes a tour, an interview, a session with admissions, attending a couple of classes, and a night in the dorm. As we have visited each college, we realize our son will be forced to make daily decisions on his own. He will be exposed to others from different cultures and backgrounds. We have become aware that the single most important preparation we can give our son is to help him develop the character he needs to make wise choices.

As we began our adventurous journeys to a few colleges of interest, my son started seeing a vision for his future. It has really helped him to talk to older friends that are now in college. He is confident he will find that one “fit” where he feels comfortable. In this season of life, new opportunities await him as he continues to grow into the young man God created him to be.

— Gina Burmeier