As the axiom goes: it's never too early to start developing a college plan. Your middle schooler has big dreams, and making them a reality will require hard work, diligence, and strategic planning. Why wait to begin walking the path to success? There are plenty of things you and your middle schooler can do right now to give them a leg up on their journey towards a college education.
Middle school is a great time to figure out what your child's passions are. At summer camp, your child can explore her interests and try a plethora of new activities to discover where her career goals lay. Experiential learning will help your middle schooler understand what high school might be like, and what a future on a given path might manifest. Encourage this sort of exploration, and give her plenty of opportunities to sample various career paths while she has plenty of time to prepare for them.
Once your middle schooler identifies a direction in which he might travel, then he should focus on getting there. Fill up his calendar with activities that will bolster his interests, but be wary of over-scheduling. Extracurricular activities, as well as in-school course selections, can be carefully made in order to help foster your middle schooler's trajectory and find subjects that will scaffold his learning rather than distract from it.
Speaking of extracurriculars, middle school is the ideal time to formulate a plan for how best to maximize a college admissions resume. Make certain that your middle schooler is working on one or two activities that will yield leadership growth in the long term. Being the captain of a team, editor of a publication, or president of a club looks great on a college application. Your child will have the best opportunity to excel if her focus isn't split between too many extracurriculars. Find what she wants and stick with it. This will yield the biggest payout in the long term.
As a parent, the absolute best thing that you can do is support your child on her journey towards a college education. Understand your child's strengths and weaknesses, as well as her wants and desires. If she isn't inspired by a subject, then don't push her to pursue a career that heavily involves that subject.
With this in mind, middle school is a great time to develop an understanding of where your child might need extra support. If your child is weak in mathematics, for instance, it might be time to hire a math tutor for him. Place the strongest emphasis on subjects that your child will need to take throughout high school: math, science, English, history, etc. Bettering your child's weaknesses now can pay out hugely as he progresses with his education.
Middle school is also a wonderful time to focus on skills that will help your child prepare for college entry examinations (SATs and ACTs). Improving your middle schooler's vocabulary will have a direct effect on their success with these exams. Develop strategies to help your middle schooler build vocabulary: start a family book club, do crossword puzzles together, play other word games, find ways to incorporate vocabulary building skills into your day to day. Make vocabulary a fun, communal activity and your middle schooler will soak it up.
Ask for Help
All of these tactics will help you and your middle schooler develop a roadmap. Achieving goals is all about having a plan. Thinking about that plan now will make certain that your student is on track for the college of her dreams. If you have more questions about college planning, or if you want assistance developing your roadmap, we have a wonderful resource: ReachSchool Admissions Counseling LLC. ReachSchool can help you strategize ways to give your child the best possible opportunity for achieving her goal of becoming college-bound. The sooner you and your child start planning for college, the easier it will be to achieve the milestones that are foundational to her success.
For more information on ReachSchool, you can email Nita or Abhinav at email@example.com or call them at (908)432-5491.