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.
- Know the ACT testing dates, including the free testing date with the Michigan Merit examination.
- Plan to attend information sessions and college nights sponsored by your child’s school.
- Continue to navigate “best fit” post-secondary options. Get guidance from your child’s counselor for college search ideas and advice.
- Keep post-secondary correspondence and necessary documents in a well-organized file.
- Review all options. If a school seems too costly, find out what scholarship options and other financial aid might be available.
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.
- Know the college application process and required documents for each of your child’s “colleges of interest,” such as essays, résumés, letters of recommendation, etc.
- “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.
- Review and update your EDP regularly. Use www.michigancap.org as a tool for saving and tracking your goals and plans.
- Meet with your counselor to schedule the most challenging courses for your senior year. You will reap big benefits with admissions and even scholarships because of a tougher course load.
- Use fall, winter and spring breaks to explore college campuses. Request to sit in on a class or two to get a feel for college lecture and lab classes.
- Talk to your parents about your future goals.
- Take the ACT for free with your Michigan Merit Exam. Take AP exams, if applicable.
- 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 Tech Center to gain some career experience and insight.
- Stay active and engaged during the summer. Read some good books, go to camps or workshops that are of interest to you, volunteer, etc.
- Believe in yourself. Success begins with the belief that you have the ability to achieve your goals.
Information provided by Muskegon Opportunity