QUESTION

My child is in 8th grade now. Should I be starting now or is it too early?

ANSWER

This is such a great question! So many parents — and their kids — think college prep starts immediately in 9th grade. But you can start getting your child ready for college as soon as the 7th grade. I think 8th grade is a good time to start talking with your child about college, helping them understand how important high school is to college, and what sorts of things they can expect to happen over the next four years.

It is important to remember that college admissions officers won’t be looking at middle school grades to determine your child’s eligibility. But how he/she performs at this time can be a good indicator of his/her success in high school and what classes he/she will be able to take.

So how do you start the conversation when your child is at one of the most temperamental times in his/her life?

Encourage your child to take the initiative. One of the best ways for him/her to figure out what he/she wants to do in college is by figuring out what he/she enjoys doing. Taking career assessments will help him/her figure out what he/she is good at doing and explore possible careers. This will help both of you work backwards by figuring out college requirements and then high school class requirements.

This is also a good time to help your child practice setting and meeting goals, getting organized, and developing good study habits. These are skills that will help him/her when he/she is in high school, college, and working in the real world. These skills are vital to success and helping your child develop them will make his/her life — and yours — easier over the next four years.

LINK

In addition to the helpful information on their website about preparing for college in the 8th grade, the University of Iowa provides a Building Your Future hand out that offers questions for your child to think about. Although this includes the specific requirements for the Iowa universities, they also include how many years your child will need to take for optimum success in college.

Penn State offers a helpful guide for students looking to prepare for college from 7th to 11th grade. It also walks you and your child through certain questions to help them figure out his/her career path.

We also provide tutoring services if your child is struggling in a particular subject. By getting him/her help before starting high school, it can keep his/her grades from slipping and his/her GPA from suffering. We also provide private 8th Grade counseling to help make sure you and your child are on the right path to success in high school and college.

This article is specifically designed with study habits in mind for improving grades. Because of how important your child’s high school GPA is to college admissions, it’s important he/she is in the habit of getting good grades now. It has some great ideas if you’re looking for where to get started. And if you’re looking for help on goal setting, this article has some great advice for how to set and meet goals.