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College Readiness

Why is College Important?

Attending college represents a significant investment in one's future, with the potential to yield higher earning potential for graduates. Moreover, it opens doors to a wider array of job opportunities, leading to an enhanced quality of life. In contemporary times, the majority of jobs demand some level of college education.

Look How Far you can go!

Pursuing higher education is a valuable endeavor, supported by statistics indicating a direct correlation between educational attainment and annual income potential. Providing your child with a college education can unlock a multitude of opportunities, as a college graduate has the potential to earn approximately $1 million more over their lifetime compared to someone with only a high school diploma.

Education Income Level
Professional Degree $119,343
Doctorate Degree $93,593
Master’s Degree $68,302
Bachelor’s Degree $56,740
Associate Degree $39,662
High School Diploma $31,664
No High School Diploma $23,612

Types of Colleges

There are various types of colleges and institutions of higher education to cater to diverse educational needs and goals. Here are some common types of colleges:

  • Community Colleges: These offer two-year associate degree programs, as well as vocational and technical programs. They often serve as an affordable starting point for students before transferring to four-year institutions.

  • Four-Year Colleges and Universities: These institutions offer bachelor's degrees in a wide range of disciplines. Universities typically have graduate programs and may offer master's and doctoral degrees as well.

  • Liberal Arts Colleges: These colleges focus on providing a well-rounded education, emphasizing critical thinking and a broad-based curriculum.

  • Research Universities: These institutions prioritize research alongside teaching. They often have extensive graduate programs and are known for producing academic research.

  • Public Colleges and Universities: These are funded by state governments and typically offer lower tuition rates for in-state residents. They can vary in size and the breadth of programs they offer.

  • Private Colleges and Universities: These are not funded by the government and often have higher tuition rates. They can vary widely in size and focus.

  • Technical and Vocational Colleges: These institutions offer specialized training in specific trades or professions, preparing students for careers in fields like healthcare, culinary arts, or automotive technology.

  • Online Colleges and Universities: These institutions offer degree programs entirely or predominantly online, allowing for greater flexibility and accessibility for students.

  • Art and Design Schools: Specialized institutions that focus on creative and artistic disciplines, including fine arts, graphic design, and fashion.

  • Military Academies: These institutions provide education and training for individuals seeking to join the armed forces. The most well-known examples include the United States Military Academy at West Point and the United States Naval Academy.

These are some of the common types of colleges, but there are many other specialized institutions that cater to specific educational needs and career aspirations. Students can choose the type of college that aligns with their goals and interests.

There are over 3,800 colleges and universities in the United States. Encourage your child to research and explore all of their options for secondary education.

College Testing Requirements

College entrance exams are a common requirement for admission at most four-year universities. In Texas, students are additionally mandated to take the THEA test to evaluate their college preparedness.

  • PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test)

    • A practice test designed to prepare students for the SAT.

    • Can be taken in both 10th and 11th grade.

  • SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test)

    • Assesses critical reading, writing, and math skills.
    • Some colleges may also require SAT Subject Tests.
  • ACT (American College Test)

    • Tests English, math, reading, and science reasoning.
    • Includes an optional writing section.
  • THEA (Texas Higher Education Assessment)

    • Used to evaluate reading, math, and writing skills.
    • Determines if students will need remedial classes in college.

Admission Requirements

Colleges seek students who exhibit a well-rounded profile, excelling academically while actively participating in school and community life.

Evaluation Criterias can include:

  1. Academic Records
  2. Test Scores
  3. Letters of Recommendation
  4. Essays
  5. Student Involvement and Work Experience

College Costs

The expense of higher education varies according to the type of institution your child selects, as well as its public or private nature. Typically, college expenses encompass tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and personal costs. Despite the potential high costs, don't delay your dream of providing your child with a college education due to concerns about affordability!

Paying for College

For families aspiring to send their child to college and seeking financial assistance:

Funding a college education can be achieved through various means, including personal savings, current income, and prepaid tuition plans. It's worth noting that a substantial portion of families receive financial aid to help cover the costs of higher education.

Here are different forms of financial aid available:

  1. Grants - These are need-based awards that do not require repayment.

  2. Loans - You can borrow money to cover educational costs, which must be repaid with interest over time.

  3. Work-Study - This program enables students to work and earn money to support their educational expenses while attending college.

  4. Scholarships - Scholarships are typically granted based on factors like academic achievements, talents, or financial need.

Exploring these financial aid options can significantly assist in making your child's college aspirations a reality while managing the associated expenses.

What can you do to prepare your child?

Prekindergarten-6th Grade

  • Emphasize the importance of maintaining good grades and attending school daily
  • Start talking about college
  • Be actively involved in your child’s education
  • Read to your child
  • Encourage good study habits
  • Visit a college campus
  • Start saving now, every dollar counts!

Middle School

  • Continue to emphasize good grades and attendance
  • Talk about goals and future career plans
  • Talk to the counselor about high school graduation requirements
  • Learn about earning college credit while still in high school
  • Ask about college prep programs such as AVID, Talent Search or Upward Bound
  • Visit a college campus

9th Grade

  • Continue to emphasize good grades and attendance
  • Encourage your child to take challenging
  • Meet with the counselor to discuss college and career plans
  • Encourage participation in extracurricular and volunteer activities
  • Investigate summer college enrichment programs

10th Grade

  • Continue to emphasize good grades and attendance
  • Have your child take the PSAT in October
  • Develop a list of potential colleges and universities
  • Research college admissions requirements
  • Attend college fairs and college and financial aid workshops
  • Talk to the counselor about enrolling in AP, IB or Dual Credit courses

11th Grade

  • Continue to emphasize good grades and attendance
  • Meet with the counselor to review transcripts and graduation plans
  • Narrow down your list of potential colleges
  • Have your child take the PSAT again
  • Attend college fairs and college and financial aid workshops
  • Register your child to take the SAT or ACT in the spring or summer
  • Help your child develop a resumé that list activities and accomplishments
  • Begin researching scholarship opportunities

12th Grade

  • Continue to emphasize good grades and attendance
  • Make sure your child is on track to graduate
  • Attend college fairs and college and financial aid workshops
  • Help your child apply for scholarships
  • Narrow college choices down to the top five picks
  • Begin the college application process in the fall
  • Register your child for the SAT or ACT test
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Stu- dent Aid (FAFSA)
  • Help finalize college plans and financial aid offers

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