St. Augustine Prep Blog

Six College-Prep Steps for Middle School

Posted February 29th, 2020

Your middle school student is taking this new chapter of increasing academic challenges and uncharted social territory in stride. While you are adjusting to your child’s new level of independence, the idea of him leaving home for college seems very far away. After all, you’re still anticipating the first date, driver’s education, and the rigors of high school classes. Yet helping your student be fully prepared for college means taking time in middle school for some important preparation.

Six Ways Middle School Families Can Plan for College

1. Understand Course Sequence Options

The pathway to taking honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school begins in middle school. Be sure you understand the possible course sequences your child can pursue in both middle and high school. A guidance counselor should be able to show you various pathways available to students. Course sequences are especially important for math and science classes. Research shows students who take algebra by eighth grade and geometry by ninth grade are more likely to go to college than kids who don’t.

2. Promote Reading

Reading builds vocabulary and hones skills your student will need to succeed in high school and college. It’s also great preparation for college entrance tests, such as the ACT and SAT. However, don’t force reading. Middle schoolers already have plenty of required reading assignments. Instead, buy your child books that relate to his or her specific interests, whether it’s sports, computers, or a popular fiction series that has been made into movies. You can also encourage reading by talking during dinner about what each family member is reading or creating a cozy reading space within your home.

3. Pursue Unique Interests

While extracurricular activities are an important part of the college admissions process, many students and parents tend to think in terms of sports, arts, and specific service or interest clubs offered at school. Most college admissions teams have a broader view and are interested to see students pursuing activities outside of school. This can include starting a book club, volunteering in the community, running a business such as a lawn service, or participating in leadership and service within a religious community.

4. Talk About College

There are a number of low-key ways to introduce college exploration in middle school. If you live near a college or if your family vacation takes you close to a university,  stop by to walk around the campus. If an older sibling, cousin, or family friend is already attending college, take the time to visit them on campus and let them show your student around.   

5. Envision Possible Careers

Help your child make connections between their strengths or special interests and possible careers. If your middle schooler loves science, they may want to explore careers in engineering, biotechnology, or the medical field. Do you have a video game enthusiast? A career in programming, software engineering, or animation may be in the future. Your bookworm may one day become an editor, marketing executive, or lawyer. Knowing a few potential career paths can influence course choices in high school.

6. Ensure a Strong High School Experience

Start researching high school options now. Do the schools you are considering have a strong college guidance and preparatory program? How many honors and AP classes or offered? Are there a wide variety of extracurricular activities? Is there a strong emphasis on college guidance and counseling throughout the high school years?  Is there a school culture that allows faculty to act as mentors and guides to students? All of these factors can influence how well a high school prepares its students for college application, admission, and success.

Explore St. Augustine Preparatory School

St. Augustine Preparatory School offers a robust college-preparatory experience for boys in grades 9 through 12.  From diverse academic concentrations and specialized classes, to unique third semester experiences and more than 40 leadership opportunities, students are well equipped for college and beyond. Request more information to discover how your student can prepare for college success at St. Augustine Prep.