***IT'S RELEVANT TO OUR YOUNG BROTHERS AND SISTERS*** Its Never Too Early: Ten Tips to Help Your Child Prepare for College * Written By: Jeff Haig - Educational Author and Consultant Its Never Too Early: Ten Tips to Help Your Child Prepare for College By Jeff Haig - July 13, 2009 If you are thinking about how great it would be to see your kids successfully graduate from college and pursue the career of their dreams, youre not alone. Parents want the best for their children, and going to college is one of the things that can prepare a child for a lifetime of opportunities and achievements. You might be thinking, My child is only in middle school; isnt it too early to think about college? The answer is: no! Its never too early to start thinking about how you can help your child succeed and reach their goals. Even parents of children in elementary school can help their children prepare for college by helping them hone their reading, communication, math, and comprehension skills as well as cultivating their outside interests. But those who have kids in middle school and upward need to be especially focused on the time before college. And its not just up to the parents the student has to be involved, engaged and motivated to learn. In todays competitive environment, you can never be too prepared for college! So, what are you waiting for? If you want to help boost your childs chances of success, have your child apply the following tips today: 1. Be proactive. Its important that students take charge of their education. Seek out opportunities proactively rather than reactively. For example, if a club that interests you doesnt exist at your school, start the club yourself. If the math textbook you are using in your calculus class isnt working for you, get another calculus textbook that explains the concepts in a way that is more conducive to your way of learning. Be proactive about your education every step of the way. 2. Develop a sense of personal responsibility. Its important that students take full responsibility of their lives as early on as possible. Despite the challenges of the educational system or personal/family challenges you might be going through, you need to think of your educational success as your responsibility. If you have this paradigm shift that you are 100 percent responsible for your life, you will then be able to take your education to the next level. 3. Use all the resources that are available to you. Many students use only a fraction of the resources that are available to them in their school. Fully engage in the resources of the library, counseling center, teachers office hours, tutors, after school programs, and fellow students. Make sure to get the best education possible by using all of your schools resources. 4. Think beyond GPA and SAT/ACT scores. Colleges are looking for students who go beyond classroom success. A students academic report card is still the most important factor admissions officers will look at; however, its also important that students excel in areas outside of the classroom. Get involved in extracurricular activities, volunteer organizations, and/or a part-time job, and become a leader. 5. Find mentors. Its important that students have mentors or role models they can look up to who can help them become successful. These mentors might be a teacher, a counselor, or a fellow student who sets a great example. Surround yourself with people who can help you succeed to your fullest potential in your educational journey. 6. Cultivate your passion/strengths. Every student has his strengths and weaknesses. Its important to cultivate your passions early on. As you are preparing for college, your college application should be centered around your passions. As opposed to getting involved with many different activities, select only a few (perhaps only 1-2) and then really excel in those areas. 7. Think beyond your high school. Some of your success in preparing for college should come from outside of your high school. Look at local or even international opportunities to help you grow as a student. Some students choose to be a camp counselor in the local mountains while others go to Africa and help with those in need. There are many opportunities outside of your high school that can really help you grow as a student that will help you prepare for college. 8. Make your summers engaging. Its important that you keep your mind active during the summer. Have fun and enjoy your summer, but make sure that you keep yourself active. You can take a summer school class, volunteer at a variety of charities, or get a job. Think of the summer time as a way to get involved in those endeavors that you did not have time for during the school year. The summer months can be an excellent way to help you prepare for college and make your college application stand out. 9. Develop great relationships with your teachers/counselors. Part of your college application will be getting letters of recommendation from teachers and a counselor. Its important that you start cultivating great relationships with these people early on so that they know you very well and so that they can write great things about you when college applications come around. Do the best in all of your classes and develop sincere strong relationships. 10. Start NOW! Many students start preparing for college junior or even senior year. The time to start preparing for college is as early as possible this means freshman year, and even earlier. Take the most rigorous course load your school has to offer, get involved outside of the classroom as early as possible, and develop your strengths. You should really think of the college preparation process as a marathon, not a sprint that starts junior or senior year. Start taking steps as early as possible to prepare for college. Start now! Remember, its never too early to start thinking about college whether youre a student or a parent. Preparing for college now can be the key to creating a path to success in the future, so dont wait. Do what you can to hone your childs skills and interests, and keep your child motivated and engaged in the learning process.