When Should you Start Preparing for College?


Ben Tucker, Secretary

Whenever parents and adults strike up a conversation with a high school student, the topic of colleges and the future will almost always come up. In high school, there’s a lot of emphasis on the courses you take, going on college tours, and preparing your college essays. Even when students arrive in middle school, there is still talk about school work and their future. With this big emphasis on the future, how early is too early to start preparing for college?


When asked, many students believe that one should begin preparing for college in ninth grade, because that’s when colleges start looking at your grades and activities in and outside of school. 

However, professional college planners believe that the earlier you start, the better it is for your success. 


Before entering high school, most students have no idea about what they want to pursue in college. Children in elementary school can barely wrap their heads around college itself. So why would it help to start focusing on college when these students have no interest in college at the moment?

The college counselors and planners that push an early start are not necessarily meaning that sixth graders need to go on campus tours or build up their college applications. But, they want these students to build up a foundation for themselves for when they get into high school. They really want to emphasize that children should build up strong habits for studying, reading, and writing that can help them in the future for college. Focusing on certain skills that can help students in their college pursuit is a big key to success and starting early can always help.


However, many parents do not agree with early college planning. They feel that young children simply cannot understand what college is, and older children (old enough to grasp the concept of college) are simply not mature enough to make critical choices. By pushing college, they feel that their kids are being robbed of their childhood and miss the fun. Not every child will go to a prestigious university or college at all and equating college acceptance with success may set up some to feel like failures.