Preparing for college can be overwhelming. There is a lot think about and even more to learn about. Researching colleges, learning about financial aid, creating a high school academic plan, and taking entrance exams are just the tip of the iceberg. Since there is so much to learn it makes sense that students begin the process of planning for college success before entering high school. But where to start?
The checklist below, sourced from www.studentaid.ed.gov helps students and parents keep track of what they should do and explore as they prepare for college during middle school.
- Think about college as an important part of your future. Discuss your thoughts and ideas with your family and with people at school.
- Start saving for college if you haven’t already.
- Take challenging and interesting classes to prepare for high school.
- Ask your parent or guardian to help you research which high schools or special programs will most benefit your interests.
- Develop strong study habits.
- Do your best in school and on standardized tests. If you are having difficulty, don’t give up—get help from a teacher, tutor, or mentor.
- Become involved in school- or community-based activities that let you explore your interests and learn new things.
- Speak with adults, such as your teacher, school counselor or librarian, relatives, or family friends, who you think have interesting jobs. Ask them, “What do you like about your job?” and “What education did you need for your job?”
- Find out why you should prepare for college
- Check out My Future, My Way: First Steps Toward College, a workbook for middle and junior high school students.
- Use FAFSA4caster to find out how much federal student aid your child might receive. This information will help you plan ahead.
- Continue saving for your child’s college education. If you have not opened a savings account, learn about the tax advantages of saving and find a link to a clearinghouse of state college savings plans.
- Talk to your child about his or her interests and help match those interests with a college major and career.
- Help your child develop good study habits, such as studying at the same time and place every day and having the necessary materials to complete assignments.
- Stay in contact with your child’s teachers and counselor so that they can let you know about any changes in your child’s behavior or schoolwork.
- Keep an eye on your child’s grades on his or her tests and report cards, and help him or her find tutoring assistance, if necessary.
Get tips from the following documents:
- Helping Your Child With Homework offers suggestions on assisting your child with successfully completing assignments.
- Helping Your Child Through Early Adolescence addresses issues that parents of 10- to 14-year-olds generally find most challenging.
- Browse Parent Power for ideas to help you support your child as he or she transitions into high school.
For schools and organizations looking to help their middle school students complete their to-do lists, Career & College Clubs is a valuable resource. Career & College Clubs brings this list – and much more – to life for students through student-led, peer-to-peer learning activities.
Using the first student to do item, “Think about college as an important part of your future. Discuss your thoughts and ideas with your family and with people at school” as an example, Career & College Clubs accomplishes this task in an early session titled: College 101: Why Higher Education? In this session students discuss why college is important for them and conduct a survey to find out how peers feel about college. They continue to delve into many topics such as high school requirements, college systems, financial, literacy, leadership, and more throughout the course of the program.
To learn more about Career & College Clubs and how your students can start preparing for college as early as the middle grades, contact us at here: http://careerandcollegeclubs.org/contact-us/.