How to Create a College-Going Culture for Your Elementary School Student

  • Kids who grow up with “when you go to college” rather than “if you go to college” are more likely to see themselves as college-bound. Here are some tips for promoting a college-going culture at home:

    Set clear expectations of attending college by instilling the idea that school does not end with high school. And start laying the foundation early.

    Demonstrate that you are a lifelong learner yourself. You can even set an example by enrolling in continuing education courses. If you attend seminars or training through your work, talk to your child about the new things you are learning. Consider taking a class at the community college or through GCPS’ Community Schools program to pursue new job skills or learn more about a personal interest.

    Make college preparation a part of the daily routine. Help your child develop necessary habits for college. College-ready students are focused, organized, and have good study habits. They are strong readers and good writers. Talk to your child’s teacher to learn more about college-ready habits.

    Watch college sports and academic bowls on television. These activities can be big motivators for children to want to attend college.

    Encourage your child to take challenging classes and flex his or her academic muscles. When your child has opportunities to accelerate learning or pursue a more rigorous curriculum in an advanced class, go for it! Studies show that students who participate in Advanced Placement (AP) and other rigorous coursework are better prepared for college and more likely to graduate from college.

    Talk it up by talking about what it takes to get to college and why it is necessary. Help your child see the connection between college and career. If you did not attend college, ask friends and family with careers requiring advanced training to talk to your child about how postsecondary study paved their way to the work world.

    Attend college events. Watch for sporting or cultural events at local campuses. Maybe your own alma mater is hosting an alumni event for families. Check out open houses and community events.

    Allow your child to dress in college wear. A little college pride, even if that’s not ultimately his or her school of choice, will help create that college-going culture.

    Stay informed about the rising cost of college and available scholarship and grant opportunities. Discuss your child’s responsibility in paying for college. If you will be helping to pay for college, explore options such as specialized savings accounts.

    Discuss college options… Community, technical, two- and four-year, colleges and universities, public, and private.

    Encourage your child’s aspirations and talents. Those interests may later translate to a course of study, a career, or a lifelong passion. Whatever the outcome, your child will benefit from your support.