Experts say yes. Ultimately, the decision comes down to you and your child, but here are some tips when considering your child's future:
Add college to the conversation.
Talk to your child about their interests, how they might translate into a college major and career. You can help them envision the future at a time when the social anxieties and opportunities of middle school seem to be taking over any extra time in their minds.
Expose your child to college opportunities.
It’s not too early for you and your child to visit a college so he/she can begin to picture him/herself there. Don't be afraid to introduce them to certain programs or career paths that you have decided together might be a good fit. Many universities offer campus tours to students of any age for free.
Click here to schedule a tour at Utah State.
Get involved in your child's choice of classes.
The research is clear: Kids who take algebra by the eighth grade and geometry by ninth grade are much more likely to go to college than those who don’t. These math classes are required to take more advanced math classes in high school and to take science classes like chemistry and physics. In addition to taking math every year in middle school, your child should take:
- English: Every year
- History (including geography) and science: As many classes as possible
- Foreign language: Many colleges require at least two years of a language, which your child can begin in middle school.
Because college work and many jobs now require computer skills, your child should also try to take advantage of any computer science classes offered in middle and high school. He’ll gain new skills and may discover a career path.
Learn about college costs--and ways of avoiding them
High school students who take AP classes can often use those credits to skip many general education classes at their university. These high school classes generally cost a fraction of the price, but your child must be academically ready to take on such courses.
Make sure your high school students are preparing to take the ACT or SAT. High scores on these tests can ensure scholarship offers and good job placement after graduation.
College doesn't have to be a scary thing. Preparing early and starting the conversation with your children should help them be excited about their future.
And really, who doesn't love the idea of being a Future Aggie?