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Last Minute College Readiness Activities for Rising 8th Graders

College Knowledge Your 8th graders are moving up! Check the boxes that best describe your students’ college knowledge profiles:

☐  The Procrastinator. Thinks they have until junior year of high school, at least, to get working on that college prep stuff.

☐  The Know-It-All. Claims to fully understand the college process; and claims to have it “all under control”.

☐  Clueless. Has no postsecondary plan.

☐  Empty Pockets. Says they can’t and won’t ever be able to afford college, so what’s the point in trying?
☐  The Next Big Thing. Plans to make it big as a ____________(ie. DJ, actress, professional athlete, model, rockstar…) so won’t be needing college.

☐  Postsecondary Pooper. Hates school. Can’t see doing four more years of it after high school.
☐  Zero Confidence Kid. Doesn’t think they’re smart enough or will have the grades for college.

☐  Mr./Ms. Head-in-Sand. Too overwhelmed and confused by college prep jargon, tests, and information to deal with it.

☐  Alternative Child. Not traditional 4 year college material.

Each of these students faces a different obstacle to postsecondary education. How do you connect with them? What can you do before they leave you to instill in them an appreciation of and commitment to postsecondary education? Here are six ideas for some last minute college readiness exercises be for your students head to high school:

  1. Start with building a base of knowledge in postsecondary terms and concepts. Just the ability to “speak the language” of college goes a long way toward building the confidence students need to navigate the (overly)complicated process of college prep, selection, and application.
  2. Explore the life long economic and social benefits of college. Use examples students can relate to, like the chance to work in their dream job one day instead of serving up fries for the rest of their lives, or that college graduates make more money which ultimately gets them stuff like tickets to awesome concerts, nice threads, or travel. Think that’s shallow? It’s not. Those are the kinds of things that make up quality of life.
  3. Its a scary thought, but students face several decades (like 40-50 years) in the workforce before retirement. A solid postsecondary education will make that time more successful, meaningful, and enjoyable.
  4. Have they ever heard anyone say “Gee, I sure wish I’d never gone to college!”?  There’s a reason for that – actually many. Even if students can’t yet appreciate the benefits, they must have faith in the message: They’ll never regret their decision to get educated.
  5. Bust the “I-don’t-need-a-college-education” myth. In today’s world everyone needs some level of postsecondary prep, whether its college, CTE,  fine art academies, community college, or the military. Because admission to everything is competitive, a strong college prep is the very best way to be prepared for any opportunity or challenge that comes their way.
  6. Paying for college is never easy, yet colleges are full of students. What’s up with that? Assure students that, like everyone else, they’ll manage. Before your students move up to high school, you not teach them about loans, grants, and scholarships?  Have students create a personal self-fulfilling scholarship profile prophecy. Research and target scholarships, then have students make a specific plans how, over the next four years, they will work at qualifying for the scholarships.

So go ahead, as a promotion gift to your rising 8th graders teach them about college. The more they know, the more likely they’ll be able to overcome obstacles they’ll encounter on the postsecondary path.

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