From Homeschooling to Higher Ed

Leaving home and going to college can be intimidating, exhilarating and frightening for incoming first years. All the new faces and places add up to sensory overload—usually in a good way. 

But imagine if you’ve never attended school in a traditional classroom setting, and this is the first time taking classes with your peers outside the home. That’s what Bradley Wichael experienced when he first arrived at Bradley. “I had been homeschooled my entire life. The only time I ever stepped foot into a public school was for driver's education during my freshman year of high school,” he said.

The senior finance major from Chillicothe, Ill., credits his mother for being an amazing teacher to him and his three younger sisters. “The greatest benefit I believe was the time management skills. My mom assigned a week's worth of assignments and then I had the week to complete them. I had to learn to space out and prioritize work,” Wichael explained.

Knowing he wanted to study business and finance, Wichael looked at several universities and ultimately chose Bradley because of the faculty and the finance program. “I wanted to ensure there were job opportunities for me after I graduated. The professional connections Bradley has are just as competitive as some of the big schools,” he said.

When he arrived on campus, he jumped in with both feet, getting involved with as many organizations as possible. “I really wanted to fit in and find a group of people I enjoyed being around,” Wichael noted. He quickly realized he was a little too ambitious and couldn’t keep up with the schedule he built for himself, so he scaled back and focused on activities he truly enjoys.

He advises new students to get involved in things you’re passionate about. “One of the amazing things Bradley offers is over 200 student organizations. So if you enjoy playing sports, like I do, there are club teams and intramurals for you to get involved in,” he said. Wichael has also worked in the admissions office as a tour guide (he even got to be Kaboom! for a day!) and he is the current president of Cru, a faith-based organization that he said, “has been the most influential and beneficial organization I have been a part of during college."

Cru is also where his parents met when they were students at Bradley. “They named me Bradley because they met here and they raised me to be a die-hard Braves fan,” he explained. “I’m known as Bradley from Bradley named after Bradley.” The triple B has already secured himself a job at Caterpillar upon graduation after two internships with the company.

He has made the most of every opportunity BU has offered and he advises other homeschoolers—or anyone for that matter—to do the same with their college experience. “Try your best to have fun with it because the college years will fly by!”

Emily Potts