Middle school is definitely not too early to start thinking about college. Doing well in middle school classes provides a strong foundation for the high school courses students will need to take to be prepared for college. And the sooner students and their families learn about and start saving for college, the more choices they will have later.
Helpful resources from the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (cIcu) for middle school students and their families include the following publications, which can also be downloaded for free from the Get More Resources tab on this site.
Paying for College
It’s never too early to start thinking about saving for college. Planning and saving – the earlier the better – will help ensure you have a leg up in the college planning process.
Never count out college because you think the cost of college is too high or won’t fit in your budget. The actual cost to students is rarely the “sticker price” since there are many ways that the state and federal governments, and colleges and universities, provide support with grants, scholarships, and loans to help students and families pay. In fact, on average more than 8 out of 10 students receive financial aid to help pay for college.
Know Yourself and What Colleges Look For
When you get to high school and choose your classes, think ahead about what you might like to be - what career or areas most interest you. Select your classes with that in mind.
It will also be important to understand what colleges look for in their applicants:
- Challenging coursework.
- Good grades in a range of courses.
- Ranking among high school peers, including senior year ranking.
- SAT or ACT scores (not required at many colleges - check with the college).
- Extracurricular activities (commitment, rather than quantity, is the key).
- Recommendations from teachers and others.
- Written self-expression, often judged by your application essay or other writing sample.
- Verbal expression and presentation.
- Leadership ability and positions.
- Level of interest in and enthusiasm for the college.