Home-Schooled Students Find Success in College
Freshman Hudson Ensz may be a fifth-generation Asburian, but growing up as a home-schooled missionary kid in Brazil meant major transition when he came to Asbury last fall.
Thankfully, being home-schooled was the easy part.
According to Lisa Harper, Director of Admissions, 14 percent of Asbury’s student body last year came from a home-school background. For Ensz, as for many students, Asbury’s familiarity with the home-school experience means an easy transition into college life, as well as a fresh experience of one of Asbury’s most valuable offerings: close, challenging and Christ-centered relationships in the Asbury community.
“It’s been great to be around so many other home-schoolers,” Ensz said. “The community aspect is really conducive to fitting in. I feel like home-schoolers fit in here more than they would at most colleges.”
While he describes himself as “naturally extroverted,” Ensz says that programs like the Transition and Guidance program (T.A.G.) and iTAG (an orientation program for international students) helped him get off to a strong start in the Asbury community.
“Those programs were really good, because from the beginning, we had this firm group of friends,” Ensz said. “There were other things Asbury did that helped, like having resources in the library, and tutoring and free counseling — all that kind of stuff is great. My TAG leader has helped me a lot academically, too.”
Having forged strong relationships from the beginning, Ensz says the highlight of his first year at Asbury has been his experiences living among so many friends on campus.
“I’ve literally made hundreds of new friends,” he said. “It’s been great being able to play on intramurals, do stuff with friends on the hall, and have the freedom to go make midnight runs to Taco Bell. And then there’s the spiritual aspect. I feel like there are a lot of really mature spiritual people on campus.”
If the familiarity of home-schooling at Asbury is a benefit, though, the diverse backgrounds of other students and professors are just as valuable to home-schoolers.
Freshman Rebecca Frazer, who was home-schooled through all 12 grades, says her homeschooling experience prepared her exceptionally well for college level work, especially in regard to independent learning. One thing she’s been able to tap into at Asbury, though, is a broader perspective on a range of issues. She says new experiences with people have diverse backgrounds have helped her grow critically and intellectually.
“Even though my mom was a great teacher, and pushed me hard — a lot harder, even, than some of my professors — it was still only one perspective,” Frazer said. “Dealing with so many people from so many backgrounds, I just got totally different perspectives on life. It challenged me to think critically and see things from different perspectives.”
Frazer says her professors were a significant help in her transition from home-schooling to college-level work. Many had prior experience with students who were home-schooled, and were accessible and helpful when Frazer came to them with questions.
“There was no question they thought was stupid,” Frazer said. “I had questions about everything from formatting papers to terminology, but my professors were so approachable about it, and it was great. It also helped having an academic counselor. The idea of picking your own schedule kind of freaked me out at first.”
The highlight of Frazer’s first year as a college student has been new relationships, both with friends and with professors. She describes the Asbury community as friendly and encouraging, but challenging — an atmosphere that has pushed her forward in her faith.
In the classroom, Frazer has been impressed with professor’s expertise, as well as their personal investment in students’ lives. Before choosing a college, Frazer had been apprehensive about becoming “just another student” at a large university. At Asbury, though, she discovered this would not be the case.
“I was so afraid of going to college and getting lost as just another student, because I really liked the individual, tutoring aspect of home schooling,” Frazer said. “And sure, at Asbury you’re still in a classroom of students, but there are people here who individually care about my education, and who are helping me pursue it as an individual, not as just another student.”