(StatePoint) Is your family thinking about the skills and experience your child needs for college and future success? The majority of college admission officers recommend that students start preparing before or by ninth grade. Yet, more than half of middle level students haven’t started prepping for college, according to statistics from the National Honor Society (NHS) and National Junior Honor Society (NJHS).
Experts say that summer is the perfect time for children to get ahead in building skills and experience for the journey to and through college and lifelong success.
“It’s never too early to start building your future,” says Jonathan Mathis, director of the National Honor Societies. “The down time during the long vacation can be an ideal opportunity to make progress working toward this goal.”
As part of “Honor Your Future Now,” an NHS and NJHS campaign to encourage students to prepare now for college and success beyond, the National Honor Societies are offering the following advice to families with college-bound students:
• Don’t Wait: No matter what grade your student is entering in the fall, encourage extracurricular and co-curricular opportunities that foster well-roundedness.
• Be a Leader: Encourage participation in leadership programs to learn important skills like resourcefulness, problem-solving and cooperation. Becoming a strong leader early can help your student throughout college and his or her career.
• Build Character: Teach your student about the importance of demonstrating high standards of honesty, integrity and showing respect toward others. Building strong character can serve as the foundation for future success.
• Give Back: Suggest joining volunteer projects that your student is passionate about, and emphasize the importance of being active in and giving back to your community.
• Find a Voice: It’s important for your student to understand his or her role and rights as a citizen. Take advantage of this election year to talk with your child about the political process and why it’s critical to get involved.
• Be There For Your Child: Getting to and through college can be daunting for students, but teaching the values of scholarship, service, leadership, character and citizenship can help children prepare for college and beyond. Involved parents can make a lasting positive impact.
• Understand Finances: College costs can be overwhelming. It’s never too early to start planning. Spend time with your child this summer researching what need-based and merit-based financial aid options are available. Talk to your child about putting some of the money earned through jobs or received as gifts into a savings account, such as the 529 plan.
More tips and resources for parents and students can be found at HonorYourFutureNow.org.
Between the sun and fun of summer, help your child spend time now preparing for college, career and a lifetime of success. It’s never too early to begin thinking about a successful future. •