With colleges and universities more competitive than ever, parents wonder how to give their children the edge. Sarah Jimenez, a college counselor at Divine Savior Academy, helps students with college planning beginning in sixth grade.
“Many parents don’t realize that college counseling actually begins in middle school, but everything’s a stepping stone,” says Jimenez, “My biggest piece of advice is to start early.”
Start the conversation about college now. Talk to your child about your experience in college, how you decided where to go to college, and why you chose your career. Sharing your experiences can inspire your child to start thinking about the future.
Visit colleges and universities. A great way to get middle school students excited about college is to visit one. If you go on vacation this summer, visit a college or university in the area. If you can’t get away, visit a local school like FIU or the University of Miami. Take challenging classes in middle school. High schools now offer Advanced Placement courses, STEM programs, and honors classes. These programs have intense, highlevel coursework that proves your child’s academic abilities on college applications and can even earn college credit. Getting into these classes requires your student to enter high school with prerequisite classes from middle school, especially in math. Have your student take the highest-level classes in middle school or skip a level so they are eligible for college-prep coursework.
Get involved in something outside of school. Extracurriculars look great to college admissions officers. Begin training now if your children want to be involved in high school sports, clubs, leadership, or the arts. Volunteer activities or community involvement also looks great on college applications!
Start setting long-term goals with your child like where your child wants to attend college, which majors interest him or her, and what level coursework he or she wants to take in high school. Goal-setting helps your child focus, make good decisions, and set priorities about schoolwork and activities.
Talk to teachers and college counselors. They are an invaluable resource to your family and can help your student pick the right classes, get the right tutoring, and plan out the steps to the college, major, and future career your child desires.
Sarah Jimenez is a college counselor at Divine Savior Academy who helps run the middle and high school college counseling program. For more information, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 305-597- 4545. Visit www.DivineSaviorAcademy.com for more information!