College Readiness Begins in Middle School

To middle schoolers, college may seem like a distant dream in an abstract future. However, the foundational significance of middle school is not to be overlooked. From developing study habits, preparing pre-requisites for rigorous high school work to considering college—middle school students and their families should use these critical years to plan and prepare for the future ahead. Below, consider a few strategic reasons why middle school is the perfect launch pad for success:

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·       Taking rigorous courses in middle school builds structured, positive study habits, while insuring that students can take honors and AP courses in high school and reveals potential weak areas.
Challenging courses inspire students to rise to the occasion, while meeting the pre-requisites for advanced honors and AP courses in high school.  They also offer an opportunity to develop solid study habits and critical thinking skills. With high school just around the corner—where good grades, rigorous curriculum and successful test scores are essential for college admission—middle school courses can provide an early, habit-building framework for your student. What’s more, academic weak spots may be revealed, allowing students to target problem areas through tailored study or tutoring, so that they don’t fall behind come high school.

·       Considering college and career goals during middle school gives students time and perspective to explore interests and talents.
By exploring college and career options early on, i.e. middle school, students have ample time to plan for relevant courses and extracurricular activities or clubs. Depending on the student’s interests (i.e. type of college or potential areas of study), students can start planning the high school course trajectory to be competitive or to qualify for advanced courses in Science or Math.  By encouraging self-reflection and experimentation, parents allow their middle schoolers time to grow, find a passion, and tailor their future goals accordingly.

·       Some middle school students can have the opportunity to take standardized tests as they prepare for preparatory high school tests like the HSPT, SSAT or ISEE.  These tests give students the chance to develop test-taking strategies that can be used later in high school—when preparing for college entrance exams like PSAT, ACT, SAT, and AP Exams. 
Honing on middle schooler’s standardized test-taking ability on the three basic educational pillars, namely reading, math and writing, will helpfully demystify the college application process.  Likewise, early standardized testing can provide a litmus test for middle schoolers, revealing which subject areas are strengths versus weaknesses. Middle school students exposed early to standardized test formats and question styles will enjoy essential insight like time management into future exams.

·       Preparing for college during middle school is important for parents, too.
While middle school students will surely benefit from a proactive approach to college, parents can also use these early years to develop a plan. Creating a long-term budget for tuition, mapping potential college visits, identifying programs of study that may appeal to your child’s interests and strengths, sourcing possible scholarship opportunities—all are ways to get a head-start on college preparedness from a parental perspective.

At Vogel Prep Tutors, we recognize each student’s potential—no matter his or her learning style, strengths, weaknesses, or academic goals. Whether your student is prepping for college or brushing up on the basics, we offer a range of small group classes and one-on-one tutoring services. Start off your student’s path to college on the right foot—prepare early and well and he or she will reap the benefits in the years that follow.  

Ellie Vogel

Vogel Prep Educational Services, 13951 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ, 85254