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College Prep

Top 10 Ways to Prepare Middle Schoolers Now to Get into a Competitive College

Top 10 Ways to Prepare Middle Schoolers Now to Get into a Competitive College

Give them your love and support. Middle school age children are especially vulnerable to low self-esteem and depression as they go through puberty. Having you as a support pillar can make all the difference.

1.  Promote studying & good grades NOW!

  • Starting in the 9th grade, everything counts & grades 9-11 are the most important.
  • Encourage communication/problem-solving with teachers, consistency turning in homework.
  • Students in top 10% of high school class are automatically admitted to Texas Public Universities.
  • Different grading scale for different types of courses at LHS 4.0 reg. / 4.5 Pre-AP / 5.0 AP

2.  Familiarize them with PSAT/ACT/SAT — Give them opportunities to take practice exams before it counts

  • They can take SAT or ACT in 7th grade as part of Duke TIPS program.
  • PSAT is given in 9, 10 & 11th grade/ 11th grade score qualifies student for National Merit Scholarships.
  • Learn about changes to the SAT effective in 2016.
  • Students should take SAT & ACT to see which one favors them and earn highest score on than test.

3.  Seek out the most Challenging Courses and/or Curriculum they can successfully manage

  • Several 8th grade classes fulfill a high school requirement.
  • AP courses/Advanced academics are a must for students desiring to go to a top college.
  • There are many outside opportunities for advanced academics & mentors for other interests.

4.  Expose them to Good Colleges — College education can’t just be your goal — it must be their goal too

  • Take college campuses tours when you go on vacation; visit your old alma mater with them.
  • Sign them up for a week long summer camp/conference or take a summer college course.

5.  Finances — Save for a College Education in Smart Ways

  • Get your financial house in order; Assets in children’s names penalize you more than parent assets.
  • Scholarships, Tuition and Financial Aid can all be negotiable.

6.  Find their Areas of Passion

  • Encourage them to try everything they want to during the Middle School years, as you never know what will stick or what they will go back to, and it may change through high school. Colleges like to see at least one area with involvement that shows improved success or leadership over time.

7.  Track Extracurricular Activities & Awards starting summer after 8th grade

  • College applications ask for approximate hours per week spent in each extracurricular activity, including sports, work, service, music etc. Any camps attended or awards received (including UIL or Leopard Awards) can be listed on included.

8.  Encourage Strong Service/Community Involvement

  • Colleges want students who will make a difference.
  • Help them keep a Service Log recording every hour of service student completes after 8th grade.
  • Help them find a way to make a difference that they care about so they will continue it on their own.

9.  Develop Writing/Interviewing Skills

  • A well-written essay can make the difference between a student who gets into a competitive college or not, and a student who gets a scholarship and one that does not.

10.  Learn how to use Naviance & the College Counseling Center and all the tools available from LISD

  • Explore Naviance and its capabilities together when you & your student get accounts in the 9th grade.
  • College Counselors are very knowledgeable and have a lot of experience and college resources.