Parents, did you know that numerous studies identify you as the single most important factor in your child’s decision to go on to college? Regardless of whether or not you attended college, your consistent and unwavering reinforcement of the importance of graduating from high school and earning a high quality degree (i.e. license, certificate, associate’s or bachelor’s) is the greatest factor in a child’s decision-making process. You can help with college access and success in the following ways:
Parent To-Do List
- Maintain high expectations and standards, academically and personally.
- Continue to encourage your child to take academically rigorous courses that will best prepare him or her for post-secondary education. Encourage your child to pursue pre-college and career experiences like Career Tech Center (CTC), Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) Dual Enrollment (DE) and/or Early College courses.
- Continue to encourage your child to participate in extracurricular activities.
- Continue to network with your child’s teachers and counselors.
- Encourage your child to take and review interest, skills and values inventories that will help guide him or her toward appropriate career pathways.
- Continue to navigate “best fit” post-secondary options.
- Keep post-secondary correspondence and necessary documents in a well-organized file.
- Find out whether or not your child’s school has college nights or financial aid nights. Plan to attend any such events with your child.
- Get a brief overview of financial aid and scholarships for college from your child’s counselor or a financial aid representative.
- Learn about the standardized tests your child will be taking during high school.
With Your Child:
- Discuss the importance of lifelong learning and the value of a post-secondary education.
- Discuss the importance of adequate test preparation.
- Discuss the impact high-school grades, classes and activities have on college admissions.
- Compare your child’s educational development plan (EDP) with college entrance requirements.
- Encourage self-reliant decision making to promote critical thinking, responsibility and accountability for final decisions.
- Explore financial aid options, including savings plans, for post-secondary expenses.
- “Saving Early = Saving Smart!” at www.FederalStudentAid.ed.gov.This handout explains why it’s never too early to save money for college and how to use such resources as college savings plans and federal student aid.
- The “College Match Maker” process at www.bigfuture.collegeboard.org/college-search.
- A campus tour. Schedule a visit to a college or university that is nearby or that your child wishes to attend and use a campus visit checklist to help guide the visit.
- A virtual campus tour at www.campustours.com.
- Career options that best fit your child’s interests, skills and experiences.
Student To-Do List
- Continue to make school a priority.
- Get good grades and practice good study habits.
- Meet with your counselor to schedule the most challenging courses for your junior year.
- Talk to your parents about your future goals.
- Review and update your EDP regularly. Use www.michigancap.org as a tool for saving and tracking your goals and plans.
- Take the PLAN test if offered in your district, which is the ACT preparation test for sophomores.
- Participate in extracurricular activities. Such activities look good to colleges, especially when you can balance them with your schoolwork and social life.
- Volunteer. It also looks good to colleges.
- Pursue available pre-college and career experiences such as job-shadowing opportunities or explore taking classes at the Career Technical Center to gain some career experience and insight.
- Visit campuses if possible. Select five to 10 schools to contact for brochures and applications.
- Stay active and engaged during the summer. Read some good books, go to camps or workshops that are of interest to you, volunteer.
- Believe in yourself. Success begins with the belief that you have the ability to achieve your goals.
Information provided by Muskegon Opportunity