Most parents start asking their children what they want to do in life since they are very young. They start saving money so their son or daughter can go to a good college or university and study something they love and are really passionate about. But generally, the families start focusing on the college search and application process when their child is in high school. There even are students that start to focus on college apps once they are seniors. But there are many reasons why parents should start focusing on it before that, maybe even when the kid is in middle school! Here are a few reasons why:
The sooner you start investigating the better
There are many things universities ask for, other than applications and transcripts. Many require a couple of years of a second language, for example. But if you wait until junior year in high school it may be too late to start preparing. If you find out this type of information while the student is in middle school, it will give you plenty of extra time to get things done. You won’t be stressed by how little time you have left.
Many students wait till the last minute to fill out applications, write essays, send transcripts, visit colleges, take the ACT/SAT, etc and find themselves overwhelmed. There’s still regular homework and tests, after all. Starting the process sooner will give students more time to prepare. The more time is given, the more they can spread things out so they don’t pile up.
It helps you realize what you really want
By researching different universities, you may realize that the college you have thought of may not be the one your child is attracted to. Read and see what majors are offered in many different schools. Get an idea of what your investigation parameters may be in order to pick your best school. If you’re planning on studying law, you may want your university to have a debate team and a good library.
You will be able to visit many more campuses
Once you have a college list picked out, the next step is to visit them. See if you can picture yourself (or your middle school child, if you’re the parent) studying there. You’ll be able to know more cities, the weather, the traffic, the way of living, and see if you would really fit in or if you just don’t like them at all. Visiting the campus may change your mind on whether or not to attend certain colleges. Go with an open mind and allow yourself to hate or fall in love with different universities. (Ps: it is okay to get obsessed with more than one and not be able to choose right away. You still have all of high school to pick your favorite.)
It will give you extra time to improve
If you know you’ll need better grades in order to get into the university you like, you’ll work harder in high school to improve them. If you got a lower score on your ACT or SAT than you expected, you’ll have extra time to study more, retake them, and improve your standing. You’ll have more time to talk to advisors and counselors and ask them any questions you may have. They can even help you prepare for interviews or visits when the time comes.
Don’t wait till the last minute to prepare; instead, get ahead of the crowd! Your future self will thank you in the long run.
Here’s a tool that can help no matter what grade you’re in: College Raptor! With our free match tool you can discover individualized college matches, personalized net price estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid at schools around the country!