Many students begin preparing for college during the later years of their high school education. While this makes sense as it is often hard for younger students to grapple with the idea of making.

Such a big decision that will have the potential to shape the rest of their lives, many educators and other professionals agree that it is actually beneficial for students to begin preparing for college in some ways as early as the sixth grade.

This doesn’t necessarily mean choosing a school or getting ready for entrance exams like the ACT or SAT, but instead means focusing on academic habits that will be necessary for the work in high school that will be reflected on college applications.

Preparing for college as early as possible will not only allow students to be prepared academically for both the admissions process and the transition into their college careers but having some options for schools in mind will make the overall decision process feel less overwhelming and stressful when the time to choose a college comes.

Also, if you are a parent who values a college education for your child and considers it necessary for them to get a degree after high school, making this clear from a young age will help your children know what to expect as they grow up.

Here are 3 ways to begin preparing your young child for college, because you can never start too early.

Discuss the Importance of College

The key to ensuring that your child understands the importance of a college education and plans to further their education after high school is by opening up conversations about this topic when they are young.

Subliminal things like displaying your or your spouse’s degrees in your home or speaking about things your child can do when they are in college (like sports or training for certain jobs) will set the tone for an understanding that it is necessary for them to get a college education.

Support Their Academic Needs

Pre-high school grades do not matter much in the long run, but elementary and junior high school education establishes a foundation for your child’s learning for the rest of their life.

To set them up for success in high school ahead of the college admissions process, make sure they do not fall behind in any subjects, especially reading or math which is hard to learn or catch up on without base knowledge of what has previously been taught.

If your child starts to fall behind or shows signs of academic struggles, consider outside help from a tutor or a program like Frog Street to encourage learning and get them back on track.

Teach Them About Choices

Allowing your child to understand the importance of making good choices and then giving them the freedom to make their own (within reason) can set them up for success in the future when they have to make important decisions like what college to attend based on what they want to study or what activities they value.

A good example of a choice you can allow your child to make now is allowing them to decide what (if any) sports they want to play outside of school, or what other activities they might enjoy.

College is a major decision that can set the tone for the rest of your child’s life, so it is important to start helping them prepare as soon as possible.

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