College is no longer considered merely an optional choice. A college education often means the difference between a satisfying career and a job. A college degree also translates to higher earnings and better benefits than does a high school diploma.
According to statistics released by the Pew Research Center in February of 2014, people aged 25 to 32 with a bachelor’s degree earned $17,500 more than those with just high school diplomas. Clearly, the value of a college education cannot be denied.
How to Start
Planning for college begins in elementary school. A child’s thoughts and feelings about learning are molded from kindergarten on. Parents and teachers need to foster an environment where learning is fun, but also challenging. Building reading skills and instilling a love of the written word is essential for academic success later on. Parents
need to be heavily involved in their children’s educations by encouraging strong study habits at an early age, working closely with teachers and actively addressing issues that arise. What happens in elementary school can set the tone for the rest of the child’s academic life.
The Middle School Strategy
As children get older and enter middle school, they begin to take more control over their educational choices. Taking challenging courses now prepares students to do well in high school and college. Parents, students and counselors should work together to develop a curriculum that both fits and challenges the student. Students should strive to do their best in school and on standardized tests. Middle school is a great time for students to begin exploring and expanding their interests by becoming involved in extracurricular special interest and charitable activities, both in school and within the community.