As your child prepares for the first day of high school, you may feel like college is a lifetime away, but the truth is, there’s no such thing as “too early” when preparing for college.
Freshman year is an opportunity for students to try new activities, explore new topics of interest, and find their place academically. It’s common for high school freshmen to experience growing pains, but with the right guidance, you can help make their adjustment to high school a smooth one.
Just ask the experts at big future by The College Board: “The beginning of high school is an exciting time. Your child may be adjusting to a new school, making new friends, and becoming more independent. But your child still needs your help and involvement.”
Becoming familiar with college requirements
The first year of high school is the year of adjustment. With a new environment, classes, faculty, student body, and academic requirements, it’s possible that your child may face a challenging learning curve. However, it’s also a great chance to create healthy habits for the long-term. For instance, freshmen can use this time to push themselves academically and add a few challenging courses to their academic schedule. While particular requirements may vary from college to college, all colleges have one thing in common: the goal of admitting students who demonstrate strong potential for college success.
Beyond high school GPA and class rank, it’s also important for freshmen to think about preparing for standardized tests and participating in extracurricular activities. While they don’t need to worry about diving right into every activity or prep class, their first year is a golden opportunity to consider what colleges and universities look for and how to prepare accordingly. Plus, their new skills and experiences will be useful when it’s time to write the college essay.
Motivating your child to start planning early
The important thing to remember is that your children may not be as ready as you are to start planning for the future. After all, they’re just learning to acclimate to the high school environment and may need some time to adjust. And while you don’t need to push college exploration before your child is ready, you can still encourage a healthy effort, such as meeting with a school counselor to discuss class preparation and goal setting. A little encouragement can inspire freshmen to think about adding an AP course to their schedule or participating in a volunteer program during the summer.
There are a variety of pre-college programs that can help your student stand out as a college applicant and enhance college readiness. Through a pre-college program, prospective students can familiarize themselves with college-level course material and expectations. Students in these programs can also earn transferable college credits.
For more information on pre-college programs in your area, speak with your school counselor or inquire at a school that interests you.