The college admissions process involves a lot of steps. So starting college prep for middle schoolers is precisely what you need to do, but the advice I will give is not what you think, as I will not tell you that 6th graders should start SAT prep and decide on their college major. 😂
In order to help you appropriately and adequately prepare your middle school student, here are 5 college prep activities for middle schoolers that you can implement today!
1. Understand and Master All Middle School Math Topics
One of the most common issues high school students have in math is their lack of foundational knowledge for things like:
- Operations with fraction
- Remembering long division
- How to convert from a fraction to a decimal to a percent
- Solving for variables
- And many other foundational math topics learned in middle school
And this affects their ability to understand and apply the higher-level math in high school and on the SAT as well.
So, one thing you can make sure your middle schooler can do in order to prepare for college is to practice, understand and most importantly, retain their middle school math skills.
This will make the SAT prep process much smoother and ensure them strong math grades, which both of these things play a role in the college admissions process.
2. Increase and Diversify Your Reading
Reading comprehension is another common issue students have when reaching the college prep process.
Many students stop reading regularly from middle school to high school and only do required reading from school.
And this can affect a student’s reading comprehension tremendously as their reading level becomes stagnant and their ability to comprehend and interpret complex texts decreases.
So, one college prep activity you can do now is to make sure your student is reading regularly.
I recommend doing the following:
- Read 1-2 books a month outside of school requirements
- Read both fiction and nonfiction literature
- Try different authors to get exposure more writing styles
- Skip the book report and try discussing the book with your student
In terms of college prep for middle schoolers, reading diversely and frequently are highly beneficial to the SAT Reading/Writing section and their college admissions essays as well.
3. Avoid The Summer Slide
When school lets out for the summer, it is a much-needed break for students.
But 3 months of no learning or educational development causes the “summer slide,” which is where their previous math and language arts skills begin to exponentially decrease as summer goes on.
Now, do not feel like you need to work your entire summer!
Instead, try this:
- Continue reading during the summer
- Use IXL to practice the math topics you learned from last year
- Once you are 3 weeks away from the first day of school, begin reviewing the previous year’s material
This will allow you to avoid the summer slide while still enjoying your break! And retaining this foundational knowledge is vital to the college prep process.
4. Implement Efficient and Healthy Study Skills
Today, many students are still using unhealthy and inefficient study skills to get excellent grades. And two things happen:
👉 Either they don’t get the excellent grades they want
👉 They do but are worn out and can’t sustain them
For example, if your study method is to reread your notes or recopy them, please watch this video immediately as this is not effective nor sustainable to do long term: 5 REAL Study Tips To Start Passing Your Classes TODAY!
Focus on using study methods that help your understanding of the material and test your recall like:
- Redoing questions you got wrong on previous homework, quizzes, or tests
- Creating mock tests
So, make sure your student is practicing great study methods so that when their grades begin to “count” in high school, they have no problems getting and maintaining As in their classes.
5. Explore Extracurriculars and Identify Favorites
Extracurriculars are still an essential part of the college admissions process!
But one common confusion students and their families have is the more extracurriculars = a better college application.
And this is not the case! 🚫
Quality and Consistent Extracurriculars = Better College Application ✅
You want to spend this time in middle school helping your student evaluate which activities they genuinely enjoy and which ones they do not.
Then you want to make sure whichever they choose, they consistently do.
1 year of 7 different instruments displays indecisiveness and inconsistency.
But 7 years of piano shows dedication, decisiveness, and consistency. Which are all traits colleges want in their students.
Overall, beginning college prep for middle schoolers is acceptable but when it is done in the right way and these tips are precisely what middle schoolers need to work on in order to prepare for college.
Feel free to share this article with other families who have middle school students ready to begin college prep!
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