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Making sure your child is ready for college

By Catholic Online
July 7th, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

For many teenagers, going away to college is the first major change in their still-young lives. Parents must take certain steps to make sure that their child is prepared for this exciting transition, and it takes months and even years of preparation.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - College preparation should take place as early as seventh or eighth grade, in order to prepare your child for entrance into a good school. Your child must be diligent on academics, as most colleges want to see entrants with a wide range of courses to give him a solid base to draw upon in college. 

Specialized courses are preferred over more general ones. For instance, courses in geometry and algebra are seen as being much more desirable than those in just generalized math. A broad spectrum is the best bet even if your child knows what profession he wants to focus on.

In addition, your child should take classes that are challenging -- but not overwhelming, because he will need to do well in the classes in order to build a résumé that will make colleges take notice.

Another area is participation in clubs and activities. A child who takes interest in school activities shows initiative and the ability to work hard at something that is not required. Such activities include the school newspaper, sports, school clubs, band or drama shows your child has a well-rounded quality that schools are looking for in a student. However -- be sure your child doesn't become involved in so many activities that he doesn't have time for studying.

Work experience is also necessary for a solid college application. Employment can either be a part-time job or community volunteer work. Students who engage in part-time work can show that they are willing to work in order to earn their own money, and that they have experience dealing with the public.

Again, part-time jobs might take too much time away from your child's course of study, and should be limited to the summer.

In addition to academic achievement, the best colleges are looking for students with real-life experiences, a willingness to dedicate themselves to activities for their own sake and appreciate the value of earning their own money and contributing to the community. In brief, making your child a well-rounded individual is essential in making institutions of higher learning readily available to them.

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