Wednesday’s Parent: College Prep in Middle School


college prep in middle schoolMost parents don’t begin to think about college prep until junior or senior year of high school. But the problem with that strategy is that by that time you will be at the end of the line. While I’m certainly not a proponent of ramming the thought of college down your middle schooler’s throat, I do believe there are some tasks you should do for college prep in middle school.

I recently wrote an article for TeenLife on “How to Prepare for College Before High School”. Here’s an excerpt from the aticle:

In a Forbes article about preparing for college, Director of Admissions MaeBrown said, “Start preparing for college at grade six. ”That’s when parents and students should increase the focus on the final goal after high school graduation: college.

Start planning academics

Middle school students should begin planning their academic path that will carry into high school. Meet with the school counselor and discuss the courses that can be taken in middle school to prepare for high school, especially in the math and science categories. Many middle schools offer classes that were traditionally reserved for high school students. These math classes are required to take more advanced math classes in high school and to take science classes like chemistry and physics. In addition to taking math every year in middle school, your child should take:

  • English: Every year.
  • History (including geography) and science: As many classes as possible.
  • Foreign language: Many colleges require at least two years of a language, which your child can begin in middle school.

Because college work and many jobs now require computer skills, your child should also try to take advantage of any computer science classes offered in middle and high school. He’ll gain new skills and may discover a career path.

Read, read, read

Establish an environment at home that encourages reading. Students can start adding to their vocabulary by reading diversely. Tweens should be reading all types of books, articles, blogs and news articles. This increases their vocabulary, which is a strong component in essay writing and standardized tests. While you’re at it, why not make vocabulary building a family game by learning a word a day? There are lots of free subscription services that will email a word of the day.

Partner with your child’s educators

Middle school is the time parents tend to be less involved, but it’s the very time your child needs encouragement and guidance. Meet your child’s teachers, if you haven’t already done so, and make it clear that you want to be kept up to date about any changes in your child’s work or behavior.

Go over your child’s standardized test results with the counselor to identify strengths and weaknesses. Talk to the counselor about your child’s interests to see if there are electives and extracurricular activities that will help him develop his talents. If your child needs extra help or more challenging assignments in a subject, talk to the counselor about how to arrange it.

Start working on extracurriculars

A key ingredient in the college application is extracurriculars. Begin looking at areas that interest your child in middle school. Try out some volunteering, connect with a mentor for an internship, and explore hobbies and interests. If your child enters high school committed to one activity, it will be much easier to carry that through the next four years.

Read Wendy’s post: 3 Ways to Prep Middleschoolers for College Prep


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Wendy and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Wendy and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from parentscountdowntocollegecoach to and vice versa.

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