Monday, November 25, 2013

NItty Gritty- Paying for College

Many homeschooling parents have concerns about paying for their student’s college education, or even being able to get their student into an excellent school to begin with. Many are unaware of the options available to their student for earning college credit in high school. This is no fault of the parents, but can be attributed to a lack of information available to help understand these methods.

My journey started at 15 years old, when I began taking exams for college credit. I learned many study skills under the direction of my academic coaches at Collegeplus, a company that provides academic counsel for homeschooled students/graduates and other individuals who want to earn their bachelor’s degree with little to no debt and in a short time frame. I never entered a classroom, and most of my studying was done at home, my library, or a local coffee shop.

            Shortly after I began taking these exams, many of my friends and family began to ask questions about my methods of earning college credit. Did I have time to socialize when I was working so hard to pass a CLEP exam every 2-4 weeks? Would I have trouble getting into a college after graduating high school? Would my diploma (or the Bachelor’s degree that I was earning) be accepted at any decent learning institution after I graduated? At times, my parents and I would grow weary of answering these questions. We had to put up with them for almost three years before I graduated this past Spring. The fact is, the methods that I have used to earn my bachelor’s degree or SO unorthodox that many people have trouble accepting them as legitimate. However, I can assure you that I have always had a rich social life, my diploma was accepted at Thomas Edison State College, the regionally accredited institution where I hold my bachelor’s in communication, and I had absolutely no issues getting into a Master’s program shortly after turning 18, where I am now studying towards my Master’s in Divinity. I say none of this in order to lift myself up on a pedestal, because these achievements are largely due to those who have coached and encouraged me along this process. However, I do want to let homeschooling families know that the path that I chose for my undergraduate education was 100% legitimate, and did not leave me lacking in any of the necessary skills that I would have learned if I studied in a classroom setting for four years. Also, the perks to getting into a graduate program with no student loans at 18 years of age are worth considering as you decide what steps your family will take as far as your student(s)’ college education is concerned. As for my current college studies, I feel that my past education has prepared me for my current study, and I am enjoying campus life with my friends and professor’s in and outside of the classroom. The current experience is very different from my prior college experience, but I didn’t experience culture shock after moving away from home, even though many of my friends and some of my family probably expected me to because of my homeschooling background and distance learning choices.

            One last word on distance education: Over a decade into the 20th Century, with increasingly fast-paced social environments and more competition than ever in our global workforce, it becomes important for a student to take as many educational and financial shortcuts as possible in order to get ahead professionally. The majority of Americans have massive amounts of credit card and student loan debt, and distance education makes it easier for a student to avoid these pitfalls before settling down and raising a family.

These are a few of the reasons why I have written an ebook, How I Earned my Bachelor’s Degree by 18”, which explains how I used these methods to graduate with my bachelor’s degree before I ever received a high school diploma! In the book, parents and students will learn about CLEP, DSST, and other credit-by-examination programs that lend themselves extremely useful to homeschooling students looking to earn college credit while in high school. I also walk students through some of the study skills to develop and tools to gather before setting out on this journey.

My ebook, available on Amazon and in PDF format, is a valuable resource for any homeschooling student or parent who is uncertain about the options that they have available to them.

~Calvin Lyman
The Homeschool Grad

Calvin Lyman lives in Granbury, TX with his family. He is currently attending Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond, OK in pursuit of his M.A. in Ministry. Calvin has three younger siblings and enjoys spending time with his family and friends. He also thinks that bow ties are cool.

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