It is never too early to talk about college. Talk about the importance, the fun, the independence and stimulating environment of college life from an early age and throughout adolescence. Chances are college will be something your child truly looks forward to if you do this. College planning also begins early. If your teens desire is to attend a good college or university make sure he or she is receiving good counseling in high school. Often college entrance exams and specific high school courses are prerequisites in order to apply to most universities.
Academic planning actually starts in middle school. Visit the college campus your teen is considering for admission. Do this before sending in the application since their first choice may turn into their second choice after the visits. Spend some time at each campus going through the orientation and taking the tour. It is important to consider the ambiance of each campus before spending four years there. Use summer vacation to visit some college campuses. This way you have the time to look around the area as well. If you are going to be paying for their tuition and expenses require they maintain a certain grade point average that you feel is reasonable.
When your child is in the eighth grade meet with the junior high counselor to discuss the curriculum for the ninth grade. Ask about college prep courses. In the ninth grade meet with the high school counselor to discuss basic college entrance requirements. Ask about the necessary high school courses your child must take. In the tenth grade it is a good time to attend college fairs sponsored by your school district or the local community college. Gather the literature from specific colleges and universities. In the eleventh grade, encourage your son or daughter to take the PSAT test for the practice it gives. The test is generally given in October. Inquire about the SAT and ACT tests and when the test dates are. Visit the campuses if it is possible at this time. In the twelfth grade repeat the SAT and ACT in the fall if it is necessary. You can also begin to request admission applications in August. It is highly suggested to apply to at least three colleges at this time.
Help your child to discover a few of their special abilities or interests. You can then do everything possible to encourage them in these endeavors. Take your children with you to work once a year. It is a good time to discuss with them about career choices. Respect and support their choices even if you disagree with the career or college major choice of your son or daughter. Encourage them to volunteer for something they are interested in doing for a career. This will expose them to many aspects of their possible career choice. Encourage your teen to talk with as many people as possible who work in the profession they are most interested in and drawn to.