Community college: Good place to start, save money
By Ashley O’Mara
Nothing can prepare you for the shock of college – a shock which perhaps delivered twice the voltage to me, a home-schoolee.
In my senior year of home-schooled high school, I found myself with oodles of free time, whereupon I filled my hours with a head start in college. This turned out to be a smart choice.
Why? Because you don’t want to take 15 credit hours in your first semester ever. A gradual acclimation to the intensity of college courses will save your sanity.
Before I could get started, though, I needed to find a college that would accept a home-schoolee. After talking with an adviser at Onondaga Community College, all I had to do was take a placement test.
Home-schooled or not, beginning your studies at a community college is a financially practical decision, too. Even if you don’t complete an associate’s degree, earning the minimum number of transfer credits your four-year college permits can save you a bank-load, and you don’t need to be an accounting major to enjoy that!
Before you register for classes, then, make sure the courses you take will actually transfer to your bachelor’s degree program. Since Baldwinsville home- schoolees aren’t allowed guidance counseling, I did all my own college research online, deciding to ultimately major in creative writing at Le Moyne. One of the delightfully helpful advisors at Le Moyne gave me a rubric for my degree’s courses and even now double-checks my OCC schedule to make sure I’m taking the right classes.
Above all, once you start studying, work hard for high grades. Even if you’re not an overachieving home-school Hermione like me, good grades get you more than personal satisfaction.
Everyone loves a 4.0-GPA student and they love giving money to 4.) - (and even 3.5) - GPA students. There are a lot of scholarships, honors and campus jobs out there, many limited to students with good grades. Apply to all you can, even the small cash prizes your college offers; a smaller pool of student applicants means a better chance of your winning?
While I’ve had some serious doubts – mostly owed to confusing requirements and monster workloads – what I’ve finally taught myself about going to college has made actually going to college an electrifying experience.
Ashley O’Mara, of Baldwinsville, is a sophomore at Onondaga Community College.