One of my favorite “words of wisdom” to share with freshmen is, “Early Intervention Is the Key!” Now with that thought, many perspectives can develop. My goal with freshmen is to encourage as many motivators as possible, that will provide options, when they graduate.
I introduce the option of college to freshmen as a motivator for academic success in high school. The primary purpose is for exploration…not a definitive college choice. There are many college programs (Naviance, College Data, College Navigator, etc.) that can be used to explore admission requirements; in turn, making students aware, early, of the performance expectation in high school.
If the freshman is achieving at an optimal level, the student will be encouraged to continue the momentum in order to have a distinguished academic profile as a senior. If the freshman has had a “sluggish” or less than desirable start to high school, the information can be an excellent motivator to encourage better study strategies and a more focused goal the next three years.
Being aware of admission requirements can be helpful to a freshman when considering course selections for the following years. Sure, there are district and state credits that must be fulfilled for graduation; however, it can be very helpful for students to know well in advance, specifically before the senior year, a college’s expected requirements. For example, I always remind students to check foreign language and lab science requirements, as these might not correlate with their graduation requirements; meaning more will be expected at college.
There are several ways freshmen can get insight to the college world that are compatible to their maturity level:
1. Attend a summer enrichment program for high school students on a college campus; commuter or residential.
2. Attend a fine arts production, sporting event, or any other public event on a campus.
3. If available in your area, attend a college fair. I have freshmen whom I have informed about local events, as well as provided “GOODE Questions to Ask a College Admissions Counselor.”
I admire and respect a freshman’s curiosity about college planning. Not all freshmen will be at this maturation level, but that’s okay. If you have a curiosity to explore the college world, it could also be advantageous to do the same with careers. Sometimes students find that one will be contingent on the other.
In summary, my advice, which is also consistent with college admissions at any institution, is to make education your priority, early. Achieve academically at the maximum level and learn how to quickly problem-solve; be a self-advocate; learn from mistakes; use good judgment when making decisions; good behavior is a lot more important than you might think; don’t be afraid to seek assistance (academic or personal); and enjoy high school.
Marjorie Goode is an educational consultant whose business, Start Early: College & Career Planning Service, has clients in the greater Washington, DC area. She has been a college planning professional since 1982.
You can reach Marjorie at: http://www.startearlycollege-careerplanning.com.