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College Readiness: How Early is Too Early?

College Readiness: How Early is Too Early?

Guest Blogger: Anjanita Mahadoo, College Counselor

Many parents wonder when to start preparing for college admission, often long before their children are even in high school. Given the increasing competitiveness of college admission at highly-selective colleges, this is a rising concern among parents. Silicon Valley International School (INTL) believes that it is never too early to nurture students in a way that supports their growth and development, and lay a robust foundation for their college applications. The key is to find the right balance between prudent early preparation and avoiding undue pressure.
ServiceEarly Preparation: Building a Strong Foundation

Early preparation is not about obsessing over how a child will gain admission to top-tier colleges. It is about tending to the child’s comprehensive growth, so their college readiness aligns with the holistic college admission processes. 

Study Skills and Academic Excellence: While you don't need to push your child into advanced coursework prematurely, guiding them to develop a love for learning and hone their study techniques will help them develop good study habits and a strong academic foundation to be successful in high school. Grades continue to play the most crucial role in college admission.

Character Development: Colleges are not only interested in grades and test scores; they also look for cultured individuals who have a sound understanding of themselves and the world around them. Encourage your child to engage in community service, leadership roles, and other character-building experiences that will foster self-awareness. Character assessment holds a rising importance in college admission.

Exploration of Interests: Middle School is the ideal time to encourage your child to explore their interests when college applications are not yet looming over them, and they have time to pick and choose diverse extracurricular activities which may help them discover their true passions and possible career paths. Colleges love to admit passionate students who are deeply invested in something.
Drama ClubAvoiding Undue Pressure

Remember that every child develops at their own pace, and pushing them too hard or too early can have negative consequences on their mental health and general wellbeing. Here are some ways to strike a balance:

Open Communication: Foster open and honest communication with your child. Discuss their dreams and aspirations, and be a supportive, non-judgmental presence in their life.

Building Autonomy: Encourage your child to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to their educational choices and extracurricular pursuits. This will help them develop independence, autonomy, and a sense of responsibility.

Age-Appropriate Guidance: Tailor your guidance to your child's age and developmental stage. For Middle School students, it's about exploration and self-discovery, not stressful college talks and rigid career planning.

Encourage Balance: Avoid focusing singularly on academics. Encourage a balanced lifestyle that includes sports, arts, and other non-academic pursuits.

Be Flexible: Understand that every child is unique and may take different paths to success. Be prepared to adapt your expectations to suit their individual needs, interests, goals, and strengths.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to preparing for college admission but a strong academic foundation and self-awareness will ensure that your child navigates their college journey with confidence, and be successful at it.

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