Federal Way parents must think about college | Guest column

When should you start thinking about college for your child?

Unfortunately, many parents either aren’t thinking about this or waiting until their child is either a junior or senior in high school.

If you have an eighth-grader, should you be doing something about college? Almost all of those involved in college admissions would say yes.

Why so soon? In Washington, only about 16 percent of ninth-graders graduate from college in 10 years. Many would suggest that one of the primary reasons for this is that planning for college graduation did not start soon enough.

Is your child taking the right courses to even be considered for admission? I recently talked to a parent of a future ninth-grader.

The parent clearly had views that might not be well received by those who might read their child’s application for college in a few years.

The Federal Way School District offers some of the most highly regarded academic programs in the nation, but many parents don’t seem to understand how important these programs might be to college admissions and college success.

Guidance counselors in our schools have more than 400 students and less than 180 days to meet with them.

Unfortunately, a lot of their time is spent in scheduling and dealing with issues other than getting your child into the right college.

Finding the right college can make a great deal of difference in the likelihood for success in college as well as determining the cost of college. There are thousands of choices.

College admission is becoming much more complex and competitive than it used to be. The learning curve can be quite steep if this process starts too late.

Often, I hear that planning for college at such an early age is too soon. Kids, and their parents, seem to think that it is too early to be thinking about what courses they might want to study in college. Often, this is just a matter of learning what topics your child is interested in, or is not interested in, and focusing on developing these strengths.

Sometimes this requires asking the questions more than once. Many colleges are now offering programs to assist with this decision making process for ninth-graders.

In Seattle, every year, there is a College Fair where more than 100 colleges will be looking for students, not only for next year but for succeeding years. Will  you take advantage of this? It could be a major help for your child.

How soon will colleges that you think might be desirable for your child know of your child’s existence? The sooner the better. School is about to start. Will the campaign for your child’s success in college be starting soon?

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