How to Get Your Kindergartener into College
When most people think about planning for college, they think about students in high school. However, with the rising cost of education, it is never too early to get your kindergartner exploring colleges. Here are some suggestions for parents to begin the planning process with their kindergarten student:
1. Establish a College-Going Culture Early
it can be helpful if parents begin conversations about college at a very early age with kids to make them aware of their educational options. If they want to encourage their child to attend post-secondary education, they can say “when” you go to college and not “if” because it helps to plant the seed. If parents attended college, it might be a good idea to share experiences with their children because they can get some insight to what it may be like. It is important to stress the opportunities that may come from college such as jobs, salary and management.
2. Explore Student’s Interests
Parents may want to explore their child’s interests by asking them questions about what they would like to be when they grow up. Looking at their strengths can be a good way to see what careers they may want to go into after high school. Parents also can have their son/daughter take career interest surveys online to see what types of jobs are available.
3. Research 3 careers a month
A good way to search careers with children is ask family and friends if they can describe what their job entails, their responsibilities, and training that was needed. Parents also may want to examine 3 careers a month with their children on the internet by looking for types of employment, salary potential, and education required. After researching, it can help to have ongoing communication about careers and post-secondary options.
4. Participate in “Take Your Child to Work Day”
Another great opportunity is to participate in “Take your child to work day,” which usually takes place in the spring. This day gives children the advantage of witnessing firsthand what their parents do at their jobs on a daily basis as well as keeps the conversation going about colleges. It also provides an outlet for children to meet some of their peers and maybe become friends.
5. Volunteer as a Family
Another way to help children is to volunteer as a family in their communities as well as non-profit organizations. When families give back, it provide so much support for those in need. It also can help kids with organizing, fundraising, marketing, and planning events. These skills can teach them at an early age to become responsible successful adults. Children that volunteer at a young age tend to continue volunteering into adulthood. Also, colleges expect to see that a student has volunteered in their community, so this is a good habit to instill early on.
6. Visit Colleges with Siblings
If parents have an older high school or college student, they may want to consider taking their kindergartener along with them on college visits. It is a wonderful opportunity for them that provides a sense of what it is really like to walk around a university. Younger kids can tour the classrooms, student unions halls, libraries and explore the extra-curricular activities that may be available.
When a child begins researching post-secondary education at an early age, this will prompt their thought process and initiate career exploration about all the career possibilities that may be available to them after high school.
Barron Whited is a school counselor with Agora Cyber Charter School. He earned his Masters of Science degree from Duquesne University in Education in School Counseling and is Certified as a K-12 as a School Counselor. He also holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in Biology and Communication. Barron has 15 years of experience in elementary, secondary and higher education which includes: The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, ICM School of Business & Medical Careers, Franklin Regional School District and Penn Hills School District. "Barron has been featured on "Pittsburgh Today Live" on KDKA-TV (CBS), WTAJ-TV (CBS) and has had articles published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Macaroni Kid, New York Daily News, USA Today, CNN, TODAY's Show (NBC) and Education World.