Posted by: cslfconnects | April 9, 2009

Top 5 ways to help your high school freshman get ready for college

"Encourage your child to believe that higher education can be within their grasp."Most students agree that some of their most positive experiences are due to the relationships they develop in high school.  National Education Longitudinal studies show that these relationships have a significant influence on a student’s decision to pursue higher education. For example, low-achieving students can improve their grade point averages when they network with higher-achieving students.  In fact, according to one far-reaching study, a friend’s wishes to attend college increased the likelihood of enrollment by their peers by 60 percent. It’s also not surprising how significant a role parents can play. Parents can help prepare their children for college, not just academically, but socially as well.

Here are 5 ways parents can help their child develop an interest in attending college:

1. Take an interest in your child’s friends.

Help promote an academically positive, pro-college culture in your home by listening to what your child and their friends have to say about school and attending college. Tell them about your experiences and encourage them to believe that higher education can be within their grasp. Praise academic achievement and effort. See the numbers on how relevant parents are to their children’s academic achievement and later college attendance:

2. Get to know your student’s teachers.

At least twice a year, your child’s teachers set aside time to meet with you in person, which is an excellent chance to get to know them and make plans to support your student’s success. Most teachers are open to calling and emailing,  and would be delighted if you let them know how they could assist your student.  Click here for some great questions to ask at parent-teacher conferences, over the phone or in electronic communications with your student’s teacher(s):

mom-dau-w-laptop3. Encourage independent thought and expression in your child.

As your child moves through high school, a major part of their growth will be developing a healthy sense of self and the ability to resist negative peer pressure. Allowing free expression lets young adults assert their opinions and explore unfamiliar concepts without the negative consequences of bowing to peer pressure. For a great article about listening to your teen and allowing them freedom to express themselves, visit

4. Establish a relationship early on with a school guidance professional at your student’s school.

Today’s school counselors are vital members of the education team. They guide all students in the areas of academic achievement, career, personal and social development, helping to ensure that today’s students become the productive, well-adjusted adults of tomorrow.  To learn more about how Connecticut School Counselors are helping students to succeed, visit their web page.

5.  Discuss career options and aspirations with your child.

Though most majors don’t have to be declared until your student’s sophomore or junior year in college, it’s never too early for you to discuss career preparation with your student. Talk to your child about a variety of professions, the type of education needed for different careers, and the potential earnings associated with them.  Job shadowing, internships and volunteer work can also help your child discover different career paths too.  Take time with your child to explore websites that highlight the benefits of a college education and that offer insights into a wide variety of occupations.

Click to begin - keep your eyes on the road to success and plan your trip well!

Click to begin - keep your eyes on the road to success and plan your trip well!

This article was written by Mariana Evica with contributions from Carolyn Karno, Susan Hanchard and other staff members of CSLF’s Early Awareness & College Planning Division. For more free information on college planning and financing, visit or call 1-866-PLAN-4IF.

Mariana Evica writes for the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation and has been serving students and their families since 2003.  Join in the discussion about education, college planning, admissions and financing on Twitter by following Mariana at or by becoming a fan of the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation on facebook at

Please leave a comment or send us an email at alternativeoutreach (at) mail (dot) cslf (dot) org.



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