Decisions your child makes as early as eighth grade can have a huge effect on his college career. They might affect how soon your child will go to college, what kind of college he attends, and even if he will go to college at all.
As a result, there is a lot of pressure on students to do the necessary work to get into the college of their choice. As the parent, your support will be crucial through this time to help your child make decisions that will lead to the college and career path that’s most suitable for him. Below are some things that your child will need to get ready for his college planning – and some ways for you to help.
1. Get involved
Getting ready for college is not all work. Your child should find something she really likes doing, then dive into it. She will develop skills and be more appealing to colleges. Colleges like to have a diverse and motivated student body. Involvement in activities indicates your child has shown commitment and taken on the responsibility.
2. Do the work
If your child expects to go to college later, he should expect to study and work hard now, and throughout his four years of high school.
3. Take challenging courses
Colleges look at your child’s grades, but also how difficult her courses are. They want to see that she has challenged herself. Plus, if your child pursues advanced courses, such as AP, she may be able to get college credit.
4. Get help
Is your child having trouble in a class? Many schools have peer tutors, students in upper grades who will help him for free. Your child should talk to his teachers or counselors and let them know he wants extra help.
Your child should read at least 30 minutes every day, beyond study and homework. It’s best to read what interests her – magazines, novels, etc. Your child’s strength in reading will be essential when she takes the PSAT / NMSQT and SAT tests.
6. Do not delay
Students take the PSAT / NMSQT in the junior year (or even in the sophomore year). So your child should take the most challenging schedule he can before high school. He should talk to his counselor to make sure he is taking the solid math and other courses that will get him ready.
7. Get the college-bound facts
How will your child know the right moves to get into college? She should ask someone who’s done it. Your child should get to know her counselors. She may also want to ask a career planner at a local college or a trusted teacher. Doing Web research can also be helpful.
8. Provide family support
If you have not been to college yourself, you may not be able to help your child. That’s not true. You can talk to his counselors and help him stay on the right path. Your support will be important as you make important decisions about your future.
9. Seek mentors
Even though you are supportive of your child’s ambitions, the encouragement of other adults who can lend their enthusiasm will help make sure your child succeeds. She might look for a counselor, a teacher, or someone else she trusts to help her develop her interests in a particular area.
10. Confront personal roadblocks
High school can be a stressful time for students. If you child has a problem that’s really getting in the way of schoolwork, try to sort it out together. Keep an open mind and listen to the ear. Your child’s counselor may also be able to help with advice or simply to point your child to resources at school or in the community that can help.