Updated: Nov 3, 2020
College preparation begins as soon as parents provide opportunities for their children to practice being independent. Read below for college readiness skills you can build with your child now.
College Readiness Skill #1: Self-Advocacy
In middle school and high school encourage your child to let others know if they have a question. Raising their hand in class is only one way to do this. Emailing teachers, writing notes or approaching a teacher after class are all exampled of self-advocacy. The method isn't as important as the 'doing.' You may want to have a conversation with your child and ask them how they prefer to advocate. If they aren't sure, then you can even practice at home or with a relative to help your child become accustomed to asking for what they need.
College Readiness Skill #2: Following a Schedule
Independently following a schedule is an important skill in college! You can practice with your child by printing out blank schedule templates and starting by asking your child to follow (or create!) a schedule for the weekend. Have them include tasks such as waking up, eating meals, doing chores, spending time with siblings or friends, doing homework, etc. Have them try to follow the schedule as best they can. They are practicing time management also - another important college readiness skill.
College Readiness Skill #3: Waking Up to an Alarm
There are alarms available for everyone so don't give up trying to find an alarm that will wake up your teenager from their slumber! Parents, encourage your teenager to set an alarm on their phone or dust off an old alarm clock and put it next to their bed. I know students who prefer the light therapy sunlight alarm clock - I've never tried it but I know students who love it.
College Readiness Skill #4: Self-Awareness
While your student is in middle school and high school ask them open ended questions that ask them to think about their own learning style, strengths, challenges, etc. This type of thinking is called Metacognition. Metacognition is also an executive functioning skill that helps all of us think about how we think. Practice this skill now - at whatever age your child is. Here are some examples of metacognitive questions:
What was most challenging about that ______ for you?
What is one thing you did well last week? What is one thing you struggled with?
How do you learn best? For example, if I were teaching you how to dance would you want me to show you, do it with you, or explain it to you? Your answer is a clue to your learning style...visual learner, kinesthetic learner, auditory learner.