Preparing for college begins early. Reading with small children, providing healthy nutrition, and encouraging curiosity at a young age all create a strong foundation for future college success.
Once your children enter school, it is important to be involved in their education. This includes:
- Showing an interest in what they are learning in school.
- Encouraging them to ask questions and explore their curiosity.
- Review what they bring home from school.
- Put an emphasis on homework.
- Contact teachers and guidance counselors at the start of each school year to understand what is needed for success that year.
- Attend school open-houses and parent-teacher conferences. If your work schedule prohibits this, call the school and ask for a phone conversation with your child’s teacher.
- Make it clear that you expect school rules are followed and that attendance is consistent.
- Get to know your children’s friends and who they hang out with in and out of school.
While the responsibility of education ultimately falls on the student, family members can provide encouragement and help keep track of education requirements and deadlines. There are a number of questions a student should consider over the middle and high school years. Teachers and guidance counselors can help in finding the answers. Questions include:
- What courses are my strengths and what courses require extra help?
- What courses do I need to be ready for college? When are they offered?
- What electives align my interests?
- What activities can I do after school and over the summer to build on my interests?
- What tests do I need to take (such as PSAT, SAT, ACT) and when are they offered?
- How should I study for the SAT? Are there resources available at school to help?
- Which Advanced Placement courses should I consider?
- Are dual credit courses available so I can earn college credit in high school?
- What does my school offer for college planning?
- What does my school offer for career planning?
Read more about the role of the parent in the U.S. Department of Education’s 2010 publication, Parent Power.