How to survive after you’ve sent your teen off to college

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(This post is sponsored by Spartanburg Methodist College, who compensated me for my time. All opinions are my own.)

A few short weeks ago our family launched #3 into the post homeschooled-thru-high-school world of college. Gah – you’d think I’d be over this by now, wouldn’t you? But in my defense, it had been a number of years since #2 left; so many, actually, that this one felt like the very first time. Again.

Luckily, it hadn’t been so long that I didn’t remember lessons I’d learned from the two older ones. What I mean by “lessons” is knowing what things I could do to make the transition a bit easier. Not only for my sweet young adult, mind you, but also for me. Each time one of them leaves, despite whatever struggles we may have been going through, it makes my heart ache – both with pride and with “I’m gonna miss you soooo much!”

Drama aside, however, let me share with you some ways I’ve developed to cope with one less young’un around… Here, then are

10 Ways to Survive the Off-to-College Transition

Beforehand – If you have a Senior this year, start preparing by

  1. Sending off for more information from the school or schools he may be interested in. Work out a spreadsheet together for test dates, application due dates, interviews, etc.
  2. Attending a campus visit or Open House sometime this year.  It will help you to be able to picture them there. Not only will it be some student-centered time away from the regularly-scheduled programming at home, but it’ll also be neat to discuss the experience together.

Afterward – which is the point you may be at right now

  1. Spartanburg Methodist College may prove to be a great transition to the world at large for your homeschooled teen. That'll surely make the transition easier for mom and dad, too!Realize they need time and space to adjust. No doubt you have a close relationship, and no doubt he’s a tad anxious about truly being out on his own, but now is not the time to be clingy, mom. Yes, you want to hear from your son, but give him a few days and wait for him to be the one to reach out. If too many days go by with no word, go ahead and reach out but go easy on the “momma guilt!”
  2. Schedule sending off “care packages.” In this, as in all things in my life, if it doesn’t get written down…well, you know how that one ends! It doesn’t matter if you heart is in the right place, if the package never arrives at its destination, he won’t know you’re thinking of him. Keeping a box or two “just the right size” around the house may help make it happen.
  3. Send periodic texts or messages. You’d be surprised how much this will mean to him. This is how college kids communicate, and if your son is anything like mine, he won’t even answer a phone call. But a text, now…that’ll get a response in a heart beat!
  4. Attend orientation/parent’s day/homecoming, etc, especially if you didn’t get to an open house or campus visit during his senior year.
  5. Be available when he calls (or texts)! Believe it or not, it will happen – trust me.
  6. Ask specific questions: about his roommate (and try to remember his name), an activity, class, new friend, recent “issue.” It never ceases to amaze me how my boys might have started a conversation with one word answers until I asked something specific. Then it’s like an open firehose!
  7. Ask them what they’d like you to pray about for themand then DO it.
  8. Make a big deal of their first weekend home. Everybody loves to be doted on now and then, and he’ll be happy to know he’s still a big deal at home 🙂
  9. Start doing things to keep YOU busy! You may have younger ones to pour into…but if you don’t, work on a plan for yourself! Yes, momma, there IS life after homeschooling is over

Looking for a homeschool-friendly liberal arts college?

I guess since I’m in the thick of the college-phase (did I mention we still have a Senior at home as well?), I was very interested to hear about Spartanburg Methodist College (SMC) recently.

Over the years I’ve been happy to see more and more colleges set up booths at homeschool conferences that I’ve attended. Studies and stats show that homeschoolers are not only able to adjust well to their post-high school home-away-from-home, but often excel academically and display wonderful leadership skills. But college is only the beginning of their future! And a homeschool-friendly liberal arts college such as SMC may prove to be a great transitional environment from home to the world at large.

Spartanburg Methodist College - homeschool-friendly AND a great place to get started on the future! @smcinc #ihsnet #makeitcount Click To Tweet

Here are some other reasons why SMC could be the right place to get started:

  • Small, supportive campus environment. Home school students thrive in their small classes and enjoy personal attention from professors who are invested in helping them succeed. At large colleges and universities, students take general education classes with hundreds of others in large lecture halls. That doesn’t happen at SMC. 
  • Professors serve as student academic advisors. Your child will work directly with a professor to plan their courses and ensure they are on track to meet their goals. They won’t be left on their own to sink or swim. The first two years of college courses will allow your student to explore their interests and then identify the right college to finish their degree.
  • Transfer assistance to colleges and universities. 1/3 of all college students transfer to another institution before graduating. Most colleges don’t help their students leave to attend another school. SMC is different: because almost all SMC students transfer after two years, their faculty and staff are focused on assisting your student with transferring to the right college to complete their degree. 
  • Earn a degree in two years. They know that home school students are typically better prepared for college than their peers; however, sometimes life gets in the way of their studies. SMC students who stay for two years and meet the requirements will earn an associate degree. If a financial, emotional or family crisis puts your child’s education on hold (hey, life happens), they will still have a college degree to fall back on. 

“But don’t take MY word for it!” Here are what some homeschooled SMC students have to say…

Choose your next step to find out more about SMC

Spartanburg is located within an hour’s drive of Charlotte, North Carolina, and within a three-hour drive of Atlanta, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. Enjoy a mini-vacation with the family in a lovely area of the US and check SMC out together! Here are some suggested ‘next steps’:

  1. Attend an Open House for high school students and families
  2. Schedule a campus visit any time of year
  3. Request more information  (And students who use the code “homeschool” can take advantage of the application fee waiver when they apply!)

 

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