Why send your child to college? When you consider the benefits of a college education over the course of a lifetime in the form of reduced risk of unemployment and greater earnings, it’s clear that a college education is more important than ever.
As a parent, you can be your child’s #1 coach and advocate on the road to college. Important steps you can take include asking teachers and counselors at school about how to help your child enroll in the classes he or she will need for college admission and looking at options for financial assistance early on. One advantage of the Rural Scholars Program is that in addition to offering academic support from seventh grade through college, the program offers a limited number of full-tuition scholarships to Kent State's Columbiana campuses to scholars to who successfully complete the program. This scholarship will only be available to Rural Scholars – a much smaller pool of applications than that of most grants and scholarships.
The Rural Scholars Program will eventually offer a variety of resources for parents of students in our program. If you would like your child to participate, contact your school guidance counselor or contact us to find out more about the competitive admission process for rising seventh graders.
Not a Rural Scholars Parent? You can still do a lot to help your child get on track for college. The following websites and pdf files offer some useful planning advice and checklists.
Mahoning Valley College Access Program
Ohio Department of Education Career and College Planning
ACT Family First Parents Guide to College
Some important things you can do now include…
For your elementary schooler:
- Read to your child daily at least 15 minutes. Not sure how to find a book to suit your child’s interests? Ask at the library or visit this website for ideas.
- Reinforce an interest in school by playing math or quiz games during everyday activities like shopping at the grocery store or eating dinner. This site has some fun ideas for ways to reinforce math skills without any preparation on your part.
- Encourage your child to think about how his or her talents and skills might help identify a job he or she would like to do.
- When you have an opportunity for a relaxing day out with the family, choose places like museums and nature centers that offer educational enrichment along with the fun.
For your middle schooler:
- Talk to teachers and counselors about getting your child prepared to take Algebra I in eighth grade. This will help get your child on a college preparation track in high school.
- Encourage your child to get in the habit of reading at the same time every day. This is critical for building the vocabulary and skills he or she will need on standardized tests and in college courses.
- Make sure your child attends any college information nights offered by your school or by your local college campus.
- Encourage your child to get involved in the community doing volunteerwork, sports, art classes, or other activities that will build your child’s skills and look attractive on college applications.
- Have a systematic family savings plan. Putting aside even a few dollars a week in an interest-bearing account like a savings account can be a big benefit down the road. You can also start researching financial aid options for your family. The Federal government offers a forecasting tool that can predict how much aid your child might get from the government for attending college.
For your high schooler:
- Encourage your child’s interests and involvement in the community (clubs, sports, volunteering, religious activities).
- Remind your child to keep reading in order to build the vocabulary and skills he or she will need to be successful on college admissions tests and in college courses. 30 minutes a day, minimum.
- If you’re planning a family vacation or even a weekend visit to an amusement park, try to schedule in a visit to college campuses on the travel route. Colleges love to give tours to prospective students, and this will help your student visualize him or herself at college, making the dream a reality.
- Talk with teachers and counselors about making sure your child will have the necessary classes to be eligible for admission to college, and that he or she is on schedule to take standardized tests like the PLAN or PSAT in sophomore or junior year, the ACT and SAT in junior or senior. For Kent’s college admission requirements, click here.
- Make sure your child takes challenging classes – perhaps even Honors and AP courses if possible. It can be tempting to take easier classes and get good grades, but a B in a challenging class may be more attractive to colleges than an easy A. If your child needs help to be successful in a course, look into free, school-based tutoring which is often available.
- Ask your counselors about financial aid for college and learn about all the options ranging from federal assistance to local scholarships. Many schools and colleges offer workshops for completing financial aid paperwork in senior year, so find out the schedule and get professional help. Kent State University offers FAFSA Fridays at our local campuses during winter and spring, and you can find more information about financial aid and scholarships at our local campuses by clicking here. Another great tool you can try: the FAFSA4caster can help you figure out whether your student will qualify for federal grants or loans.