According to the U.S. Department of Education, “To ensure our nation's students reach their full potential, parents must be fully engaged participants in their children's education.” The resources that follow are helpful tips on how you can help your child prepare at each educational level of development. Some of the early strategies, such as reading to your child, will transcend all stages and others will be specific to a particular age group. You will also notice that as your child gets older, the strategies are geared more toward helping your child get organized and give serious consideration to their education and future options. As your child's skills build, your role as an educational mentor takes on new challenges.
A time when parents exercise a great deal of influence over what, and how, their children learn.
Your role in supporting your child's aspirations for postsecondary education can start very early in life - as early as birth. Set aside some time each day, perhaps bedtime, to read aloud to your child. This nightly ritual will greatly enhance your child's reading development while fostering a love of reading. The ability to read, and comprehend, is the underpinning of all other future learning.
A time when your child will need to become more independent and learn to work with others; a time when your child takes the important steps in preparation for postsecondary education.
The transition into high school for most, if not all, students is accompanied by some major intellectual, emotional, social, and physical changes. Knowledge of this fact alone can help ease the transition but parental support and encouragement is critical to helping your child prepare to deal with the many changes high school life will bring. Some of those changes will include:
The high school years can be exciting and overwhelming as your child prepares for a future beyond high school. Discuss your child's future and help them set goals as well as devise a plan for attaining those goals. Talk about postsecondary expectations and options from early adolescence on. Discuss your education with your child and let them know how your choices have impacted your life. Talk about the different career paths other family members and friends have taken and the impact of their choices on lifestyle. Help your child set realistic goals for themselves based on their individual skills and interests. Remember that the two won't necessarily intersect; your child may be very skilled in math and not the least bit interested in careers that involve high levels of math ability. Make sure you and your child know what courses and grades are necessary to prepare for college. The secret to finding a great fit is to start the college search early and then taking it one step at a time.
Help your child transition smoothly into high school by assisting in the selection of core courses to be taken in grades nine through twelve.
Whether students are signing up for electives or advanced courses, the classes they take in high school reveal a lot about their motivation and interest in learning. Smart choices now will open more opportunities for college later. Remember that meeting high school graduation requirements may not mean meeting college entrance requirements. Plus, there are many benefits to taking more rigorous courses including:
Students often feel high school is too easy, which leaves them feeling unmotivated and wishing schools and parents were expecting more from them. Most students say they would work harder if their high school demanded more, set higher standards and raised expectations. So, whether students plan to go to a four-year, two-year or technical school, there are certain subjects that are critical to their success. The State of New Hampshire supports the New Hampshire State Scholars Initiative which is a program that encourages students to take a more rigorous course of study. Patterned after the recommendations of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, the State Scholars Core Course of Study includes no less than the following:
Students who undertake this rigorous Core Course of Study will challenge themselves to do their best work during their high school career and may enjoy a wider range of postsecondary options upon graduation. To learn more about the New Hampshire Scholars program, visit www.nhscholars.org or call 603-225-4199 x300.
Specific high school course requirements vary from school to school. Be sure to check with specific colleges to see what they require for admission. Also, keep in mind that electives help students to explore special interests. Encourage your child to take electives which will help him to enhance his profile and develop his talents.
Through the College Board's Advanced Placement (AP) college-level courses and exams, students can earn college credit and advanced placement, take more challenging courses and stand out in the admission process. The College Board offers 34 AP courses to choose from. AP courses can help them acquire the skills and habits they'll need to be successful in college. According to the College Board, more than 90 percent of four year colleges in the United States and colleges in more than 60 other countries give students credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of AP exam scores. Students and parents should talk to an AP teacher or the AP coordinator at the high school.
In addition, the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) offers the Running Start program, where high school students are given the opportunity to take college courses for college credit while also completing the requirements for high school graduation. Students earn college credits for a fee of $150.00 per course and many of these college credits will then transfer to postsecondary schools all around the country. For more information, visit www.ccsnh.edu.