There are many ways to get students started on the road to a college education. Some happen in high school, but others can start much earlier. The most important thing is instilling in every student the belief that college can be a reality – and giving them the tools and information to make it happen.
? Help children develop a love of reading. Students who read for pleasure are more likely to read for school.
? Encourage students to challenge themselves by taking the most difficult courses in which they can be successful.
? Familiarize yourself with the financial aid process. College can be affordable. Visit www.FederalStudentAid.ed.gov to use the FAFSA4caster to see what types of aid you may be eligible to receive.
? Find ways for students to become involved in their school and their community. Clubs, teams, volunteer opportunities – these are all great ways to develop leadership and other skills while helping make their schools and neighborhoods better.
? Encourage students to build relationships with teachers and coaches so that they have choices when the time comes to request letters of recommendation
? Colleges want to see students use their time wisely. Look for productive summer activities like volunteering, part-time jobs and course for high school students at local colleges.
? Prepare for the SAT and ACT – start early by registering for the SAT question of the day at www.collegeboard.com and trying the ACT prep questions at www.act.org
? Do not forget to tell colleges about family responsibilities like caring for younger siblings, working to help pay expenses, helping older relatives.
? Get to know your child’s school counselor or college counselor early on. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Lisa Sohmer is director of college counseling at The Garden School