Rebecca Ray

Homeschooling experiences help Rebecca succeed at Iowa State

Rebecca learned about family financial struggles at a young age. For the first part of her life, she lived with her parents and siblings in New Jersey. Her family had a two-story house, but many neighbors had lower incomes and depended on financial assistance. Her parents actively volunteered in the community, and sharing these experiences made Rebecca want to reach out and help too.

“It fostered a sense of awareness of the negative impact of inequality on real people and the belief that, as a human, it is my job to care about this,” she said.

By the time she entered second grade, her family moved to Weslaco, Texas. Rebecca’s parents decided to homeschool her, and she loved it. Rebecca said she enjoyed the flexibility. Being homeschooled allowed her the freedom to volunteer at any time of the day.

“I got to be more involved in my community,” she said. “I could go and volunteer without worrying about time restrictions.”

After graduating from high school, she knew she wanted to continue working with low-income families, but she did not know where to attend. When it came time to apply for colleges, Rebecca experienced a few difficulties. Many of the colleges’ applications required her class rank and didn’t have a separate section for homeschooled students. Rebecca hadn’t thought of Iowa State until her sister Sara, a graduate student in human development and family studies, said she should consider it. Rebecca did some research and applied to the child, adult, and family service program to make her career goal possible.

“It was much easier than other applications,” she said. “There was a section where I could say I was homeschooled and the requirements were basically all the same. I wrote my essay, sent my standardized testing scores, and got in.”

Rebecca said being homeschooled also helped her transition to college more easily.

“When I was homeschooled, I had to set my own goals and structure my own time,” she said. “I’ve used those time management skills a lot, and I’d say college is almost easier now!”