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Posted on Jul 11, 2012 - 06:00 AM | College Prep | Comments (0)

According to tradition, 11th grade is a good time to prepare for a college. A better time would be 9th or 10th grade. But the best time is 8th grade.
Why 8th grade? Because colleges today look at all four years of a high-school student’s record, meaning that if you buck tradition and start now, you’ll be in the best position when colleges pick over candidates and award financial aid.
How College Prep Works
While parents might want to consider financially planning for college early (practically from the day your child is born!) and developing their student’s interest in higher education as early as grade school, the hard work really begins in 8th grade.
8th Grade Steps in College Prep…
  • Career Interests. 8th graders need to determine their career interests. They don’t need to pick the job they’ll be doing for the rest of their lives, but they should understand areas that interest them. Is it medicine, law, engineering, something in the arts, advertising, etc.? The best way to do this is to take personality tests and work-skill assessments that reveal their interests and abilities. Those results might even show them that they’re at careers they never considered!
  • High-school classes. Once a student has a list of interesting careers, they can pick high-school classes that meet those goals. They’ll know how much math and science they need, or perhaps a foreign language or business class. Using a 4-year planner now means getting on track to take the right Advanced Placement classes come senior year. An academic plan developed in 8th grade will impress colleges four years from now.
  • Activities. Colleges and employers like to see leadership skills on your resume. By selecting high-school activities in the beginning of freshman year, you’re setting yourself up for leadership positions in 11th and 12th grade. Of course, that means thinking about those activities early – like 8th grade.
Advantages of Preparing for College Early
There are other advantages to college prep, including developing good time-management skills, narrowing your list of colleges ahead of time, using summers wisely, and staying on top of your reading and critical thinking skills. Doing all this means you’ll have plenty of time for the important tasks that come junior year, like the SAT or ACT tests, visiting college campuses, leading various clubs and activities, and considering your financial aid options.
There’s a lot to do in 11th grade. Getting some of it out of the way in 8th grade, as well as 9th and 10th, makes it easier. You won’t panic if you’re prepared.
Your college prep is at the heart of the RSC program. Our college prep checklists, handbooks, worksheets, videos and online databases make it run smoothly, so that you’re not scrambling to put it all together at the last minute.
Yes, junior year is the traditional year to begin college prep, but some traditions are made to be broken. 8th grade isn’t early college prep; it’s smart college prep!
For more on how you can get started today, click here or call 800-898-4636. For only $225, this is the absolute best time to begin college prep. Start before summer is over!


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