Why extra time in high school may benefit college
Extra years and preparation can help set students up for success in college, writes Liz Esquivel-Brandt in LinkedIn.
In addition to being a major boost in SAT scores, Advanced Placement classes help set up college students for success.
As parents, you’ve worked hard to prepare your kids for college. You’ve put them through challenging high school classes, worked with their teachers to help them become more competitive on the tests and engaged them in extracurricular activities that have increased their skills and confidence.
If your child plans to attend a college at which Advanced Placement classes are offered, some colleges will provide financial aid because you will have demonstrated the child’s efforts to be an upstanding citizen.
But what can a parent do to prepare their child for the rigorous classwork and lecture material that is most likely to be demanded at the school?
Prepare your child for college while they are still in high school. Take them on tours of colleges so they can see firsthand what they can expect. Tell them that college is a time to step outside of their comfort zone and prepare them for the important conversations they are likely to have while they are attending college. Have a serious and open dialogue about their goals and what they want to do and be in life. Also, take the time to help your child with studies and homework, reminding them that the hard work will get them to where they want to be and the reward for their hard work is the college experience they will have. Also, make time for your child to foster these college interests in a way that supports them and holds them accountable while also recognizing their individuality.
During this extra year of high school, parents can also make sure that they are helping their child learn more about school, their academic friends and the college admissions process. Visit schools and major colleges to learn more about all their programs and resources. Talk to your high school guidance counselors and enroll your child in campus tours. Provide opportunities for your child to sit with an admissions officer for a campus visit and meet other students who are planning to enroll in college. I recommend students set up a job through a service like Summer Work Your Future that gives them the opportunity to take volunteer work during the summer in order to fill their schedule during the school year. This is also a great way to build some independence within a child’s high school experience, allowing them to meet new people and learn about their general fitness for college and beyond. In addition, students can plan to take time out of their schedule for a part-time job during the school year.
When high school ends, many parents feel guilty that their child will be free to go to a less competitive school. When this happens, you should support your child with your own efforts to turn that feeling into a reality.
Sharing your college dreams with your child can help your child understand why their education is so important and where they can fit in at the college of their choice. Even if your child isn’t attending that school, they are leaving their path to success wide open if they don’t take the opportunity now. This is part of the plan that most college students are considering.
Make some tough decisions with your high school child to ensure that they are ready for college. The most important decision is whether or not to attend college. No matter how clear they are on that, school is not the only important decision in a child’s life and adding an extra year doesn’t make it any easier. If you can support your child on their path, at the very least the extra year will help set them up for success.
(The opinions expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Military.com.)