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Is Your Child Ready for College? Avoid Remediation With Spring and Summer Prep

Each year, thousands of students across the nation begin their preparations for collegiate studies. As you regard your own college-bound student, there are several ways you can help ensure he or she has the best possible college experience.

Each year, thousands of students across the nation begin their preparations for the transition from high school level education to collegiate studies. As you regard your own college-bound student, there are several ways you can help ensure he or she has the best possible college experience. During the later part of the first semester and into the second semester of their senior year of high school, students find themselves anxiously checking their mailboxes for the long-awaited college acceptance letter(s). Many teenagers, upon receiving a letter confirming their acceptance into a university or college, are tempted to take a scholastic break. But it’s important that they (and you) understand the consequences of so-called “senioritis” to ensure a successful transition to college-level course work.

It’s easy for accepted seniors to believe that, after receiving their acceptance letters, they can simply coast and ease up on their studies until graduation. As an educational specialist, I have witnessed the scholastic damage coasting to the finishing line of high school can bring upon the unsuspecting senior. Academic apathy can cause students to experience a downward educational and GPA slides, all because of their “scholastic break.”

Not only does this have the potential to jeopardize scholarship opportunities and the very college acceptance they worked so hard to achieve, but high school seniors who relax in their studying, homework, and test prep may find they enter their collegiate studies woefully unprepared. The uptick in the rigorousness of their course work, as compared to high school, can be substantial even for students who prepare in advance.  

During the final months of high school, seniors should continue on their study, homework, and test review schedule to ensure they are learning foundational knowledge for collegiate studies. In addition, students can benefit from DIY-ing or purchasing a set of ACT and a set of SAT vocabulary flash cards to refresh their skills once a week. Learning concepts included on the flash cards is the foundational knowledge students should know to help them succeed in their collegiate studies. Reading through 20 or more ACT or SAT flash cards helps students retain and remember more of the important high-school-level objectives.

In addition, students can choose the flash cards that quiz them on information they feel they have yet to master. Adding 15 minutes or more a day to review high-school-level curriculum concepts can help give students a scholastic advantage when they begin their college- or university-level studies. And students with an interest for writing, whether creative fiction, blogging or journaling, or even amateur journalism, should continue honing those skills throughout senior year and the summer before school starts. Student should also simply read voraciously, including reading for fun, if they don’t do so already!

If your high school senior has enough credits to graduate and takes one or more junior college general education course, they may find themselves academically ahead of their peers in college—and perhaps financially ahead as well. High school seniors may opt to wait until the summer to enroll in a general education junior college or college course that will transfer their credits to their collegiate choice. Taking a college-level general education course before the fall semester may help the student’s transition from high school studies to the volume and complexity of college-level courses.

Students who enter their freshman year with the experience of taking and passing a college course can be better prepared to juggle the accelerating academic demands in college. Parents, when helping your son or daughter select a general education course to take, please advise your student to enroll in a course that may be the most difficult for them. By taking a course prior to beginning their collegiate studies in an area of difficulty can help them by giving the student time to concentrate on only one college-level course. Prior to entering fall classes as a college freshman, students who have taken a course that may be more challenging for them in isolation; can have a scholastic advantage. 

During the months leading up to collegiate studies, students should prepare by choosing a list of 11–18 vocabulary words from the college entrance exams preparation books for high-school students. Students can also call the college or university campus bookstore to obtain the names and even copies of textbooks they will use in their next semester classes. Soon-to-be and matriculated college freshmen can then use vocabulary words from those textbooks to prepare for the upcoming semester.

Next, your son or daughter should peruse the glossary and initial chapters of their textbooks or online learning sources. While doing so, they will generally find a list of words or terms they are unfamiliar with. They may want to place a small mark beside the words which they will need to know to excel in their fall classes.                      

Again, studying 11–18 vocabulary words each week to be learned and used correctly in sentences can be quite beneficial for students. They should also write out the phonetic pronunciation next to the regular spelling if they are unable to properly decode the word. Then they should write the meaning and construct one expanded sentence using the word correctly. The student should make sure they know the multiple ways the words can be used in sentences, including the part of speech. 

Developing a strong foundation of collegiate vocabulary, using the college entrance exams or collegiate upcoming courses in manageable chunks of words each week, can help students do better in their freshman college classes. These words can be effectively used in college-level essay questions, objective tests and exams, written reports, and creative writing.

Knowing the vocabulary terms will help make class lecture time easier for the student to understand. It also helps students to be able to link new concepts together in order to draw logical conclusions. Not to mention, the correct use of higher-level vocabulary words generally impresses teachers and professors.

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