Preparing for college – Middle school is an excellent time to lay the groundwork for success in high school and beyond. Here are some activities that can be beneficial for middle schoolers:

  1. Academic Excellence: Encourage strong study habits and a focus on maintaining a good GPA. Even though middle school grades may not count toward college, the habits developed will.
  2. Reading Proficiency: Foster a love for reading by engaging with various types of literature, which can improve vocabulary and comprehension skills essential for standardized tests later.
  3. Advanced Courses: Enroll in honors or advanced courses to challenge abilities and prepare for the rigors of high school academics.
  4. Explore Interests: Encourage joining clubs or taking courses that align with potential career paths or subjects of interest to explore what might be a good fit for the future.
  5. Community Service: Volunteering helps develop empathy, responsibility, and leadership skills. Many colleges look for a strong record of community service.
  6. Public Speaking: Practicing public speaking can help students become more comfortable communicating ideas, a skill beneficial both in school and life.
  7. Time Management: Develop time-management and organizational skills through planners, apps, or other tools.
  8. Financial Literacy: Basic lessons in budgeting, saving, and even investing can prepare students for the financial aspect of college life.
  9. College Visits: While it might seem early, touring local colleges or virtual college tours can make the idea of college more tangible.
  10. Career Talks: Organize or attend events where professionals talk about their careers, educational paths, and the realities of their jobs to give a broader perspective on what’s out there.
  11. Test Prep: Get familiar with the format and types of questions found on standardized tests like the PSAT, even though it’s generally taken in high school.
  12. Soft Skills: Teamwork, problem-solving, and critical thinking are skills that are invaluable in college. Encourage activities that develop these.
  13. Summer Programs: Many colleges offer academic summer programs for middle school students, which can be both enriching and inspiring.
  14. Networking: Encourage relationships with teachers and mentors who can provide valuable advice, as well as potential letters of recommendation in the future.
  15. Stay Active: Physical activity is crucial for well-rounded development. Whether it’s organized sports or just regular exercise, staying active has benefits beyond physical health.
  16. Writing Skills: Whether through a journal, blog, or school assignments, improving writing skills is crucial for college essays and assignments.
  17. Cultural Exposure: Visiting museums, attending performances, and exploring other cultures can offer broader perspectives beneficial in personal and academic development.
  18. Setting Goals: Encourage setting both short-term and long-term goals. This can be as simple as aiming for an ‘A’ in the next math test or as big as aiming to become class president.
  19. Family Discussions: Make college a regular topic of family discussions, and involve your child in any college planning activities you undertake.
  20. Consult a Counselor: Finally, meet with academic counselors to discuss high school course planning and how it aligns with college goals.

Starting these activities in middle school can set the stage for a successful transition to high school and eventually to college.

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