It is easy to think of college as far off in the future, not worth thinking about in the present. But savvy middle school students and parents know that college is just around the corner, and worth preparing for now. Below are three ways middle school students and parents can work together to ensure they are on track for college and career readiness.
Develop scholarly habits
College students have to keep track of a large amount of work, read frequently, and manage their time. If students begin developing these abilities and habits in middle school, this will be much easier when college comes around. Have your child read as much as possible — forgo video games and television for reading time, develop a culture of reading in your family, read together before bed, and discuss books
together. Additionally, start setting specific times for studying and homework and keeping strict track of assignment deadlines — this develops strong time management skills from the start.
Explore college as an option
Students who develop college goals from an early age are likelier to succeed in college. Discuss with your child the value of a college education frequently, and take time to review different types of colleges — four year schools, two year schools, types of degrees and programs, and more. Visit and explore colleges in your area, or even use family trips and vacations as an excuse to see some schools out of the area. Finally, keep your child involved in programming like Liberty Partnerships that will provide them with opportunities to visit college campuses and set college goals.
Start planning financially
College can be a big financial burden to a family — but it doesn’t have to be. Start familiarizing yourself now with various scholarship programs available to your child. Say Yes and Excelsior are two excellent places to start. Additionally, get to know the financial aid process — including federal student aid. You may also, depending on your financial status, consider starting a college savings plan — a 529 plan is a great option for families saving for college.