As we educators look at black graduation rates, we realize that it’s a two-fold situation. black graduation rates have risen over the years, especially for black women, but it is leaps and bounds lower when it comes to those of our white counterparts.
The question is not why are our students not completing their education, but rather are they being properly prepared on the same level as whites to be successful in college? If we educate our students early inside and outside the classrooms about the importance of getting a college education, and place them in programs and events that will teach them about the expectations of college, it will help them with their transition into college life.
Here are some tips that parents should look into when it comes to truly having your children prepared for college:
Start to Look Into Saving for College EARLY – A student can be as young as a baby to start to plan for college. Look into creating a 529 College Savings plan for your child to help with future college tuition costs.
Get Your Children Involved In Learning Programs – Some examples are STEM programs, dancing, museum, music, and the arts. Even sports are great extracurriculars that help with students’ early learning and development. Getting your children involved with programs like these will help them learn more about what they want to do with their lives. Furthermore, these activities can cultivate their learning comprehension, teamwork, learning styles, and skills.
Send Your Children On College Tours – Immerse your children early in college environments. Show them different college departments and disciplines. Teach them about Greek, student, athletic, and residential life on campus. Make sure your children know about the differences between campuses (public vs private universities, college traditions, price of colleges, which colleges are better for what majors, etc.)
Check Out Your Child’s School’s AP & College Readiness Programs – See about getting your children into college classes that truly help them be prepared for the rigor of college learning. Try to see if some of their classes could be used as college credit that could transfer to the school they are planning to attend.
Surround Your Children With College Graduates & Mentors – Have your children constantly exposed to past college graduates and in college readiness programs in your community. These people can tell your child what to expect as he/she works towards going to college one day. These individuals can also see your children’s special gifts and provide recommendations on colleges to attend, provide recommendations to college administrators, and push your children into certain programs that will help shape them to be college ready.
Check Into & Apply For All The Scholarships & Grants POSSIBLE – You know your children are smart. There is plenty of money out there to help pay for their college education. As parents and guardians, you just have to be persistent and go looking for it! Whether it’s filling out the FAFSA form every year for state and federal grants, looking into school, church, community scholarship opportunities, or talking with companies about work study or tuition reimbursement plans, know that your children can stay away from loans if college is planned correctly.
See What Your Local Community College Has To Offer – For a fraction of the cost, your children can get some of their general education — even some of their major — classes completed at your local community college. Also, look into your college student staying at home for their first year of college to take classes at your local community college while working. This can save a lot of money in the overall cost of their college education.