As parents, it’s natural to think about your child’s future, and college planning can start as early as middle school. While it’s important not to put too much pressure on young students, early planning can lay a strong foundation for their academic future. Here’s how you can gently guide your middle schooler towards college readiness:

Fostering Academic Foundations: Encourage your child to develop strong study habits and a love for learning. This is the time to build a solid foundation in core academic skills like reading, writing, and mathematics.

Exploring Interests and Extracurriculars: Middle school is an ideal time for your child to explore different interests and extracurricular activities. These experiences can help them discover passions that might influence their future academic and career choices.

Understanding the Importance of Grades: While college might seem far away, it’s crucial for students to understand the importance of good grades. Encourage them to take their studies seriously, but also provide the support and resources they need to succeed.

Starting a College Conversation: Begin discussions about college in a light and exploratory manner. Talk about different types of colleges, what college life entails and the variety of careers that higher education can lead to.

Remember, the goal at this stage is not to create a rigid path towards college but to instill values and habits that will benefit your child in the long run. By starting early, you can make the process less overwhelming and more manageable when high school comes.

About the author
Marc Zawel

As author of Untangling the Ivy League, Marc literally wrote the book on gaining admission to highly selective colleges. He earned a BA from Cornell University – where he met AcceptU’s co-founder – and an MBA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Marc chaired the admissions advisory board; he has also conducted alumni interviews for Cornell for more than fifteen years.

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