When is it too early to start thinking about college?


When is it too early to start thinking about college?


This little guy appears all excited because he is going to start a college search.   You will notice that he’s got his equipment ready and he seems to be handling the system quite well.  The budding college searcher has his hand on the mouse, and to his right are a few of his college resources.  So off he goes on his virtual college tours!!

A typical round-table or mother’s playgroup discussion is, “How early, is too early, to think about college?”  I remember sitting in a seminar at a College Board regional meeting, in the late 80′s, when one of the presenters, who happened to be an admissions officer at a highly selective university, stated that her office frequently received phone calls from parents-to-be and others with newborns and toddlers.  You are probably wondering, what on earth could they want to know… is it about the high cost of college tuition?  Well no, the parents were inquiring about the best daycare nurseries and elementary schools for their children, in order to increase their chances for college admission, at that particular prestigious institution.  Actually, that was not the first, nor the last time I had heard a similar story.

I want to believe that all parents have high aspirations for their children.  Some parents want so much for them, that their objectivity can become slightly distorted.  I’ve had many parents share with me their regret for not fulfilling their potential, so they want to make sure that their children do not fall prey to the same “mistake.”   And I can’t exclude the parent who really wanted to be a physician, and couldn’t for whatever reason.  However, the parent was determined that his child was going to be one, whether or not she had a desire, not to mention an aptitude for science.  The same happens with college choices and other post secondary options.

If the idea of thinking about college at an early age is ludicrous, why not change the approach?  Think “outside-the-box” and focus on early preparation.  That might make more sense to you because in the scheme of things, that’s why we start education at an early age.  Certain behaviors can have an impact on the foundation of a child’s intellectual growth, that begin at a very early age.   As a high school counselor, many of our educational team meetings consider factors in childhood development and the early educational history to be essential in placement decisions.

Here are some tips for parents of young children to consider as they prepare for their future:

  • Be a good role model
  • Encourage a positive attitude for learning
  • Allow your child to be creative and open-minded
  • Assist with organization skills
  • Maintain a structured environment, when possible
  • Be consistent with your thoughts and behaviors
  • Help your child build confidence and positive self-esteem
  • Encourage good communication skills
  • Monitor personal and social development
  • Encourage reading and include book discussions
  • Make vocabulary development a family activity
  • Monitor your child’s math skills
  • Ask your child questions and encourage him/her to be inquisitive about new information

Sure, this may be starting early…but it’s for a good reason.  Remember, it’s all about having the option of choices.

4 thoughts on “When is it too early to start thinking about college?

  1. Thank you for this article. I will also like to talk about the fact that it can often be hard when you are in school and simply starting out to establish a long credit ranking. There are many students who are simply just trying to make it and have a long or positive credit history are often a difficult point to have.

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