The Reasons your Homeschooler (or any schooler) Should go to College

The importance of college for your homeschoolers
The picture above is NOT a shameless plug for Smith College (one of the best liberal arts schools for women in this nation).


According to the National Homeschool Research Institute, in 2010 there were 2 million homeschooled children nation wide.  That rate has been growing steadily over the last 30 years, and continues to grow 2-4% each and every year.   And consistently, homeschoolers are out performing their peers when it comes to college admissions, retention and graduation rates.  Check out the study Comparing academic outcomes of homeschool students.

The more I talk to homeschoolers at my co-op and read homeschooling blogs, the more I hear parents devaluing the importance of going to college and furthering their children’s education beyond high school.  I’m confused as to why parents don’t want their children to go away and experience the wonder of life, of more education, of different ways of thinking, of different religions and cultures and people.  It is clear that homeschooled students excel in college.  Children go to college more than to get a better job.  College is about expanding horizons and developing friendships that normally your child wouldn’t be exposed to.  It’s about expanding your mind to different ideas, theories, and notions.  It’s a wonderous place that an abundance of learning and growing happen.

We as parents have to let go of the fear.


Here are my Top Ten Reasons I think your Homeschooler SHOULD go to College


  • We need money to live – plain and simple.  The plans of marrying into wealth so someone else can take care of you is not practical.  You have to have your own mind, heart, and interests.  I found this earnings and education graph on the National Bureau of Labor and Statistics website which shows clearly the earnings and unemployment as related to the last level of education.
earning and unemployment by education

This information was collected from workers ages 25 and over making a full-time wage and salary workers. For more detailed information about how the data was suggested, please visit the link above.


I think it’s pretty clear that college opens up possibilities.  The BA is like a high school diploma.  The way our world is going – Soon, even low-level jobs will require a Master’s Degree.

Of course, going to college is not all about how much you get paid, or what kind of job you have.

  • Having different experiences.  I think going away from home and living in a dorm is a good experience for young men and women.  It starts kids on a path of independence.
  • Creating friendships with others.  Kids are exposed to different people with from different backgrounds, cultures, religious beliefs.  It’s a starting point for modeling a real world situation.
  • Being exposed.  Yes, kids are exposed to the good, the bad, and the ugly.  As homeschooling parents, we have exposed our children to great values.  Now, it’s time to put those values into action.  Sink or swim!
  • Being exposed.  Yep, to new ideas.
  • Idea generation
  • Expansion of the mind.  Accepting new ideas – even if you don’t agree with them.
  • Adaptability – being better able to adapt to a number of situations
  • Multiculturalism being around and interacting with a variety of people will initiate a lot of growing and learning.
  • Being away from home.


There are so many different Colleges out there

Research the possibilities.

If your child is design or artistically inclined…


Science/Math inclined

  •  Stanford
  • Cal Tech
  • Yale
  • Princeton
  • Cornell
  • Harvard
  • MIT
  • Berkley
  • University of Chicago
  • The Rockefeller NYC
  • Columbia
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Minnesota
  • Johns Hopkins
  • Carnegie Mellon University

Business/law School

Liberal Arts


I just linked a few of these highly specialized schools because homeschoolers tend to be “experts” in their interests.  The others are easy to look up online.  However, it’s always a good idea to get a great liberal arts education, and do something more specialized for graduate school.

Don’t be afraid to go for the top.  Also, don’t be shy about investigating international possibilities.  There are great advantages for learning other languages and going to school internationally!

About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile


  1. I think this is a great post, but do you think I should really push a child who wants to be a children’s illustrator into college when his dream is to do this and he is a very talented artist. Would it not be better to encourage him to work on his drawing through art classes and then to begin to persue this career even from a young age and skipping the expenses of college? Because we looked into art colleges and they are not offering what he is looking for and are requiring things like different sciences and math which we both agree is somewhat ridiculous since he just wants to draw!

    Also my second son is into theatrical/fx makeup and the Makeup school he is looking into is only a 10 week course in which they also teach him the business aspect and help him get a portfolio going. Would you consider this to be ok for the career he is interested in.

    I am just asking as my children are very artistic and their passions don’t seem to fit in with traditional college classes. I am thinking if they were to ever need a traditional college after following these passions then they could go later in life. Just wondering your opinion on all of this!

    • Well, I don’t think you should push anything – just encourage. Just because someone is interested in one thing at 14 or 15 years old doesn’t mean that will be his/her life work. The most important thing is to get various experiences – and that’s where college is really really helpful. You can take classes in this and in that, grow a bit. Maybe you will come out in the same area, maybe not. You can take art classes, but also math, history, science. He might find that he likes something else. Exposure is the most important thing. It’s hard to get a job in this and that, you know – especially when your options are limited by a high school diploma.

      The way that I see it, what’s the problem with exposing your children? Maybe he will like math, or logic, or whatever?

      And, many colleges there are few requirements such as Brown (RI), Hamphire (MA), Smith (MA) – where you really get the chance to have a liberal arts education. If he attends a college where there are other campues, he can take courses across campuses.

      Really, with college, I don’t think you can go wrong. It’s really the best money you can spend. Just look at the colleges that are more liberal (like I stated above).

      Sometimes I feel that homeschoolers are afraid of college which they shouldn’t be – just because maybe you aren’t great in the “standard core” areas. There are so many options. It’s not a scary place. It’s a place of great learning and experience.
      Lisa recently posted…The Reasons your Homeschooler (or any schooler) Should go to CollegeMy Profile

      • Thanks Lisa we may look into the more liberal colleges. They are still young and finding their way so we are very open minded about all of our options at this point. I agree with you that homeschoolers should not be afraid of college. I for one never went because I became a Mom at a young age and have been home doing that for over 15 years now however I am very supportive of what decisions my children choose.

    • Keisha – I would say they could totally pursue their interests without a degree. I majored in Art in college, and it’s a lot of work and meeting other’s demands, and not creating what you truly want, until like your senior year. It’s a lot of time and expense, and honestly, if they are willing to work hard, get internships, and network, they both could do great. And trade schools are a great route to take. Four year colleges are not the answer for all, and right out of high school is not the answer for everyone either.
      Katelyn F recently posted…Hallmark Cards Giveaway!!My Profile

      • It is soooo much harder, especially when you are working and competing against people with higher degrees. The options are limited with where they will be able to go, and just as long as they are okay with that – than that’s fine.

        I think the options even 10 years ago were different than what they are now. If someone without a degree enters the workforce in 2014, it’s going to be a lot harder. 2015 harder still. 2020. If they can’t get a job in what their passionate about, then what?

        I think college really opens you up to more possibilities – and a BA is not always enough.

        Jobs are not easy to come by. Just because you graduate with an MBA or a degree in Chemistry doesn’t mean you will be working in that. But, the application is key. Someone with a degree in chemistry could work in engineering, could work in a think tank, could work here or there, or as a real estate agent, or a high school teacher. You are not getting a job as a teacher with a high school diploma. Not happening.

        The money – it comes and goes. Education is forever.
        Lisa recently posted…The Reasons your Homeschooler (or any schooler) Should go to CollegeMy Profile

    • There are some colleges that would fit their needs and passions. There are some schools with theater programs where the person can focus on makeup, etc. There are programs that focus on illustration. Why not encourage (not push) your child to explore their interests in a school that fits their passions. They exist! I think this is especially important in the fields you mention where jobs aren’t as prevalent. At a college or university, they might be able to make the connections and network to get the jobs and opportunities they desire. (And I’m not saying college is a requirement…for the makeup there might be a trade school that works, but give your child options.)
      Denise recently posted…Guest Blog: Grateful for the SacrificeMy Profile

      • I know that people do that – go to specialized colleges that really don’t work in other areas, but I think this is the richness to getting a good education – being exposed to other areas. You never ever know what may interest you. I went to college thinking I was going to be a scientist. I came out loving history – like nothing else. Did I go on to do science? Yes, I went on to graduate school. Should I have? No way. I should have focused in what I was interested in – which was history.

        What someone likes as a teenager, might be true. But have they really been exposed to other things? You never know. That’s the value of a great liberal arts education. That’s the beauty. So, I think that you should go to a school that is focused in your area, it should have other things around it. Not that you child will change his/her mind, but leave it to possibility. There are so many wonderful things out there. It’s just amazing!

        Thanks for the time you took to comment. I hope you have a fantastic week!
        Lisa recently posted…Mommy Monday Blog Hop – Week 31My Profile

  2. I think you are so right, Lisa. So much of the “anti college” movement is fear based and that’s a shame. Do we not think the godly values will stick? Wasn’t our job to prepare them to go in the world and seek their calling? I like how you stress trying different things and meeting different people. You don’t have to commit to an expensive four-year program. Just get your feet wet! Homeschoolers have the advantage of more flexible schedules during their school years; they can use this time to earn extra money (for possible future education), learn a trade, or even take classes at a community college or vo-tech to see what they might like.
    Anne Sweden recently posted…Buttons Diapers Wet Bag Review & GiveawayMy Profile

    • Anne,

      This is what makes homeschooling so valuable. You are not stuck in a classroom for 10 hours a day. Mind numbing – unfeeling. You are able to get out and explore the world. That’s a wonderful thing.

      It’s a tough enough world, why make it tougher? It just doesn’t make any sense. Higher education is not the devil. Sheesh. Incredible.

      You make it work. You do whatever you have to do to make it happen. That’s what I believe.
      Lisa recently posted…The Reasons your Homeschooler (or any schooler) Should go to CollegeMy Profile

  3. Happy to hear a homeschooling parent who values higher education. That’s one reason my husband and I are still on the fence about homeschooling, and the options for higher education they will have. I have seen many stories lately that disproves myths about options for higher education for homeschooling students, so that’s refreshing. I think it’s awesome to encourage children to pursue there passions but you still have to give them reality and the reality is that sometimes your passion won’t pay the bills, and neither will mommy and daddy when you reach adulthood. You have to have some financial plan for your life and that may be college, maybe not but there needs to be a plan that is not based in idealistic fantasies. Thanks for the post Lisa, happy to have found your blog πŸ™‚
    Christina recently posted…Chocolate Chip Cookies + Pecans +OatsMy Profile

    • Christina,

      It is so important. Yeah you can get by, but is that enough. Just because the parents were able to sqeek by, does that mean the child wants to do the same thing? 20 years ago is different than today – and 20 years from now will be very different. One thing that I think is great about homeschooling is that we get a world view. WE have the opportunity to prepare our children for a “real” future. I don’t think that means a life of taking standardized tests, or being afraid, but we gotta look at reality. Being in lala land for the first 18 years of your life, and then learning a very cold and hard reality isn’t really the best thing either.

      If the kids are not going to college, then fine – but they must know what they are going to face out in the real world. It’s not going to be lala land. The days of walking up the corporate ladder with a high school degree is not reality. The days of getting a job – competing with people with BA’s and MFA’s is not reality – when MFA’s are required to gain entry into the lowest position.

      I think there is a disconnect. People miss that in places of high education – even though you go in for biology you are not just doing biology all four years. You are taking literature, and history, and whatever. You will find other things you like that you can specialize in further. If you can’t get an art job, perhaps you could get a job as a curator or an internship. I’m not sure about you, but I would rather hire a student from an accredited university than someone with a high school degree. They would be able to offer my patrons more.

      Sorry to say.

      I don’t care how talented people are, all things being equal, my money is going to the more educated – especially if my livelihood relies on my patrons and them coming back and inviting their friends.

      Yes, a person with a high school diploma is valuable, but how hard is that person going to have to work to get to the same place? Is it worth it?

      The possibilities are just more open – especially in the economy we live in.

      I might not be popular for this post, but I truly believe in what I’m saying. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t say it.
      Lisa recently posted…The Reasons your Homeschooler (or any schooler) Should go to CollegeMy Profile

  4. Lisa this is an important post. I personally feel it’s so important to encourage children to attend college and as you write there’s a wide range of types available according to young people’s different interests.
    (By the by I took a course at Smith while I was at Amherst :))
    Kriss MacDonald recently posted…Maternity Leave as a Mum or a Mom. Big difference.My Profile

    • You went to Amherst? What course did you take? That is so awesome!

      I took an immunology course at Amherst. It was awesome and i got a lot out of it. I can’t remember his name, but he was such a great immunology instructor.

      Yeah, it’s really important that the child’s interests are met, but an overall view is also important. You never ever know what might peak interests. Plus, a good education will never be wrong. I can’t think of an instance where too much education will set you back.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!
      Lisa recently posted…Review – The Preschool Rocks Curriculum Bundle at EducentsMy Profile

  5. as a teacher, college is important for Dino to consider…either or a trace school. He MUST have an education, no ifs, ands, or butts. I know hubby says trade school is fine and I’m okay with that, but college is my frist big choi ce for him.
    karen recently posted…What’s in a Name?My Profile

    • Yeah. You get so much more from college. Really. Of course Dino is the only one who can make the choice, it’s his life. But, I think it’s important to give him a realistic idea. Saying – oh, it’s okay – you can survive perfectly well with a high school diploma – doesn’t help – because it’s not realistic. Saying – well, you won’t get a job that you enjoy because nobody will want you. Yes, a plumber is a great trade and you can make tons of money – but is that what you want to do with your life? Really?

      Janitor, great job, but is that what you want for your life?

      And what happens if you can’t find any plumber or janitor jobs? What then?

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Karen!
      Lisa recently posted…Review – The Preschool Rocks Curriculum Bundle at EducentsMy Profile

  6. I suspect that part of the reason some homeschooling parents don’t encourage their children to go to college is BECAUSE they will be exposed to different ideas. I’ve met many homeschooling parents who don’t send their children to public school because they think their children’s minds will be warped by a liberal agenda. Some don’t because they want to shelter their children from other religions and others because they are the ultimate helicopter parents. Sending a child to college means they lose control. Why encourage that? I know that isn’t all of them, but I do believe that is why you see the stats you do.
    Denise recently posted…Guest Blog: Grateful for the SacrificeMy Profile

    • Hey Denise.

      Your comment is very very scary. You don’t want to expose your children to different ideas? Shelter them? Keep the outside world out? These are people that grow up and think all black people are gang banger, gangsta rappers, that smoke dope, do coke and are a societies filth – utter trash – like they are portrayed on TV.

      That’s not why I homeschool. I homeschool to give my children the best multicultural – well rounded education. I’m not sure who you are talking to – but you need new homeschool friends.
      Lisa recently posted…Mommy Monday Blog Hop – Week 31My Profile

      • I didn’t say I didn’t want to expose my kids. I just have been in contact with a lot of these people whether IRL or on the FB. They exist, not to mention the religious extremeists. I know that there are some, like you, who homeschool for different reasons than the ones I gave, but I think you are in the minority, from my own experience. I plan on putting my girls into public school. I’m a former 1st grade teacher and believe in the school system, despite all it’s faults. πŸ˜‰
        Denise recently posted…Guest Blog: Grateful for the SacrificeMy Profile

      • Ohhhh, I so like being in the minority! Haha!

        I think there are more out there. Religious extremists are everywhere. Another thought I have wondered. I wonder if these kids that are so sheltered and are religious extremists ever get jobs in the real world? What do you think? If they do, they are exposed to different ideas, different people, different thoughts? Am I correct? It must be a tough to go for the sheltered kids.

        Let’s not perpetuate the fear. Maybe there are some people that are completely antisocial and don’t want to go outside their door – religious zealots that may even barricade themselves into compounds protected by bombs, and guns or whatever. However, there are many many many homeschoolers out there who really feel that they get a better education at home. Yes, they go to college – great ones. Yes, they go on to have successful careers.
        Lisa recently posted…Mommy Monday Blog Hop – Week 31My Profile

  7. As someone who had the opportunity to attend college, I really do hope my children decide to take the plunge! I won’t push or harass them, but my husband and I will definitely let them know that it’s a viable option. I learned so much about myself during those years–it was an invaluable experience. Thanks so much for sharing the wide range of possibilities, too–seems like there’s a place for just about everyone. πŸ™‚
    Dara recently posted…How To Deal With Online Trolls & General Unpleasantness.My Profile

    • Hey Dara,

      You know, I always knew I was going to college when i was growing up. It’s not that my parents harassed me or talked about it at all – it’s that my Mother was 100% gung ho about education. She put us in educational programs, science programs for minorities. It was the people I was around.

      You don’t need to harass your kids about anything. It’s the environment you set. It’s the people that are around them. It’s their parents. Are the parents pro-higher education.

      You don’t harass your kids. You let them know what the options are – and be honest.

      Really, I don’t see it as being “a choice”. It’s a must if you want to do anything in this world in this day and age. Pretty soon you will need a BA to flip burger at McDonalds. Just because you were able to get by 5 or 10 or more years ago, doesn’t mean that’s going to be the same tomorrow, in 5 years or in 10 years.

      I guess I’m in the minority that I think it’s our responsibility to prepare our children for everything. If they want to attend the best of the best, they will have the tools and the know-how to be able to do it. There will be nothing that they can’t do.
      Lisa recently posted…Review – The Preschool Rocks Curriculum Bundle at EducentsMy Profile

      • Indeed! Everyone in my family went to college, so by the time I was old enough to go, I was eager. I got married right in the middle of it, but was determined to finish. It meant–and continues to mean–so much to me. I’m debating going back when the kids are older because I miss the environment. I’m interested in so many things, so I’ll definitely need to get more specific! πŸ™‚ You’re right about the world becoming more competitive. I’m 32, but I can see how so much has changed since I graduated. My husband and I definitely want to set our kids up for success, and education is integral.
        Dara recently posted…How To Deal With Online Trolls & General Unpleasantness.My Profile

      • You are so good Dara. My college days are so so so over. I thought briefly about getting a teaching degree. But why? You go into a school with kids who are uninterested and unmotivated to learn. I would need to teach in a private school. Plus, a teaching degree is a minimum. I would really need a higher degree – and I am SO not doing graduate school. Haha!

        You go though! It’s important to continually be learning and growing. Good for you!

        You said it, education is integral. It really really is!

        Thanks so much for stopping by!
        Lisa recently posted…Sustainable Phil: The History of Groundhog Day My Profile

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