Homeschoolers adjust well to college life

 Lauren Bird-Staff Writer

Every year, around 15-20 Dordt freshmen come from a homeschool back­ground. This year, there are 18 freshmen at Dordt who were homeschooled. Though this number is small, these students have managed to stand out among the students at Dordt.

Janna Hulstein, as­sistant director of ad­missions at Dordt, is in charge of working with these students since they don’t have a guidance counselor like students who attended convention­al high schools.

“These students and their parents have differ­ent questions (as com­pared to other students). I work with them on put­ting together transcripts and help them during the application process,” said Hulstein.

Hulstein has been work­ing with homeschoolers for the past ten years at Dordt. She works with them regardless of where they’re from, but doesn’t work with the students who were dual enrolled in both public school and homeschool.

Homeschoolers, Hul­stein has found, do re­ally well at Dordt. One might think that these students have a hard time adjusting to college life, but Hulstein thinks just the opposite.

“I think they abso­lutely adjust well,” said Hulstein. “I don’t think that coming into college life for them is any dif­ferent from other stu­dents. They’re used to being self-motivated and they know how to direct their studies.”

“I’d like to see the number of homeschooled students grow,” said Hul­stein. “They’re a good fit at Dordt.”

David Mahlum, a senior at Dordt who was home­schooled before college, said he enjoys fitting in and adjusting to college life, which hasn’t been too difficult for him. Be­cause he took some class­es at a community college in high school, Mahlum was able to get a taste of what college is like.

“It gave me time to ad­just to both the social at­mosphere of academia and the load of school work,” said Mahlum.

However, Mahlum misses the free time that he had while home­schooled.

“I miss all the person­al time and space of be­ing homeschooled,” said Mahlum. “I feel like I learned better when I had space to read and write and do math homework. Here at college I feel as though there are too many things to do.”

Scheduling seems to be a big part of what sets homeschooling apart from college life. Maria TeKol­ste, a sophomore at Dordt, finds that college is more scheduled than being homeschooled.

“I have to sit in class and even though I may have picked up the in­formation quickly, I still have to learn at everyone else’s pace,” said TeKol­ste. “There are more peo­ple in the class than just me.”

Like TeKolste, Elle Jelinek, also a sopho­more, misses the freedom she had in her studies.

“When I was home­schooled, I could just pick up my studies and travel,” said Jelinek. “I could work ahead and there was the freedom to pursue what I liked more.”

On the other hand, Nathan Walter, another sophomore, disagrees with TeKolste and Jelinek about the difference in scheduling.

“Homeschoolers and college students set their own schedules,” said Walter. “You have to de­termine when to do home­work, when to play, and what events to attend. You have to set priorities and manage your time so that your work gets done in the midst of all the free time. I think homeschool­ing prepared me for that aspect of college.”

TeKolste also believes that homeschooling helped her with time man­agement skills.

“It helped that I was homeschooled because it means I’m independent already,” said TeKolste. “I know how to learn on my own and set my own schedule.”

These time manage­ment skills are important in college since there are so many things to do. In spite of this, David Mah­lum has still found time to build relationships and have fun.

“I love seeing friends and people everywhere here at college as opposed to just on special occa­sions,” said Mahlum. “Be­cause I have many inter­actions with friends here, I learn social norms much faster than at home.”

Nathan Walter appreci­ates the way that home­schooling can prepare students socially in other ways as well.

“Homeschooling natu­rally creates self-motiva­tion in individuals,” said Walter. “It taught me to take initiative, pursue ex­cellence, and go the extra mile. It prepared me to stand on my own two feet, make my own decisions, and engage the world around me with a solid Christian worldview.”

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