Back-to-school season is a great time to start thinking about preparing for college. Yes, even if you have little ones! Why? No matter the age of your student, it is never too early to plant the seeds for later success, especially among minorities and Latinos who are increasing their college enrollment. A recent ACT report noted a 94% increase in Latino test takers since 2009. Earlier this summer, The Huffington Post reported a 22% enrollment increase for Hispanic students entering into 4-year colleges.
Despite these promising education trends, Latino students aren’t meeting benchmarks in the core subjects. Preparing them for higher education will not only require closing the achievement gap with their white counterparts in the classroom. At home, mothers, mentors, and students themselves must nurture the dream and reality of college.
Let’s start with 2 ways to foster the expectation of higher education in the home.
Aundrea’s College “Conversation” Starter Tips
1. Build a Culture of College at Home
I remember hearing stories from my uncle–the first person in my family to go to college two generations earlier. His stories and those of other successful relatives tipped me off early to the importance of college. Regularly talking to kids about about their interests and college life, as well as academics, lays a great foundation for support at home that reinforces the exposure they receive at school. Some ideas:
- As a home project, consider starting a college scrapbook.
- Make a college vision board of potential schools to attend.
- How about just keeping an ongoing dialogue about different aspects of university such as studying, intramural sports and club activities, or the career resource center?
2. “Education Entourage” Assembly
If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a team to prepare for college. My entourage consisted of:
- My mother–key supporter and expectations enforcer.
- My high school advisor–point person for navigating the processes linked to college entrance.
- And my mentor–alum and insider of my dream school.
All three linked together their particular insights to provide a safety net through which I had no chance of falling. While your student’s entourage may consist of coaches, teachers, fellow students, or family members, remember to assemble a diverse group of people who can form a resource network.
Don’t think fostering dreams of university is important or can wait? By 2020, 60% of all jobs will require an Associate’s degree or higher, according to the Lumina Foundation. Starting the “College Conversation” by creating a culture of college at home and assembling an education entourage are great ways to instill the expectation, stoke the dream, and make college a reality.
To continue the conversation, next week I will share two more ideas to consider for your higher education prep plan–1) simulating college expectations at home such as time management and 2) non-college pathways to success. In the meantime, I look forward to hearing your experiences in the comments.
An education policy wonk at the Georgia Center of Opportunity, Aundrea Gregg holds a Master’s degree in Social Policy and Planning from the London School Of Economics and a Bachelor’s in Classical Civilizations and Political Science from Howard University. She also is a nail painting enthusiast and writer living in Atlanta, GA. Connect with Aundrea on Twitter or Google+.
Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.Share the “college convo” tips that are working in your family!