With competition for university admission becoming stronger, parents are recognizing the need to begin varsity preparation early. It means that you begin a foundation for your education that will carry you into high school and eventually into college.
When discussing university preparation, most conversations start in middle school and the steps begin when a student is in high school. But for a student to be truly prepared for varsity, parents should begin talking about it, thinking about it, and discussing it as early as elementary school.
- Understand the value of education
Begin talking about the importance of education when your child enters primary school. The first seven years of education are filled with learning fundamental skills. If your child loves school, excels in school, and is motivated to study and achieve excellence, the logical progression will be to continue their education by going to university.
- Start talking about college
The opportunities that a college education provides can be relayed to your children during the early years of education. For example, if your child is interested in dinosaurs, parents should talk about how people that research and recover dinosaur bones had to go to university first to learn how it’s done. A child’s interests are the perfect opportunities to start a discussion about how college is key to pursuing and following those interests.
Primary-Early High School
- Start planning academics
Early high school students should begin planning their academic journey that will carry into high school. Meet with the school counsellor and discuss the courses that can be taken in middle school to prepare for high school, especially in the math and science categories.
- Read, read, read
Establish an environment at home that encourages reading. Students can start adding to their vocabulary by reading diversely. Teens should be reading all kinds of books, articles, blogs and news articles. This improves their vocabulary, which is a strong element in essay writing and standardised tests.
- Start working on extracurricular activities
A key ingredient in the college application is extracurricular. Try out some volunteering, connect with a mentor for an internship, and explore hobbies and interests. If your child enters high school committed to one activity, it will be much easier to carry that through the remaining years.
It’s the year of new beginnings. Excited primary school graduates enter high school campuses somewhat overwhelmed on the one hand and excited on the other. High school puts them on the path to adulthood and independence. It means added responsibility and academic challenges, especially if they plan to apply to university before or during their matric year.
- Establish a relationship with the high school counsellor/ mentor
This is a person you want on your child’s team for the next few years in high school. The counsellor will ask what your child envisions doing after high school; goals and visions for your child’s future career. They should help draw out a plan to reach those goals. If you wait until matric, it might be too late to get particular requirements your child may need to attend the school of his dreams. Work with your high school counsellor ahead of time to identify what courses your child needs to take and pass to fit those university subjects the best.
- Research careers
A students’ interests will serve to guide your teen down the right career path. For instance, it would be useless to pursue a career in the medical field if science and math are your teen’s least favourite subjects. Examine their interests and strengths to guide them in choosing the career that would best suit them and feed their passion.
- Research universities
Finding a university that compliments your child’s educational goals, personality, and learning style takes time and effort. Start by making a list of what criteria the perfect school would have. From that list, focus on the schools that meet those needs with regard to location, size, character and degree programs.
As part of the research, begin visiting varsities. This helps your student narrow down their lists of likes and dislikes, helping them to finalize their list before matric.
Each academic year produces its own set of challenges if your child wants to go to university. By planning ahead, you can minimize the stress of senior year and ensure that your child is ready to pursue higher education after high school. College is expensive and every student needs a financial plan. Some companies can help you get scholarships or loans, others can help you make a plan that will work for you.
Established in 2001 and first launched in 2005 the Tiso Foundation is a self-sustained public benefit organization (PBO) focusing on supporting youth education, development and leadership.
The Foundation became an independent functioning entity when the founders of the Tiso Group dedicated a substantial portion of their shares to establish an organisation that would actively develop African potential and talent through quality education, becoming a beacon of hope and agent for positive change. Today 10 years later, the value of that initial endowment is worth over R660 million and the Foundation has reached over 42 000 lives through the R100 million invested in educational and skills development programs.