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Entering an era of scientific innovations and advancements plus a more competitive job market, wanting your child to go to college is something every parent has to think about. Raising a child is hard work itself but deciding when to start prepping them for college is a whole other objective. This begs the question, how soon is too soon to start college preparations?

Reflecting on my background in education I’ve narrowed it down to a two-step system. Preparation and implementation. College preparations should start from when they are babies but shouldn’t begin to be applied until they are capable of understanding the importance of going to college.

Many parents begin preparations by starting a college fund from an early age. No matter how big or small, starting to save for college gives your kids a better sense of financial security in the future. Aside from a college fund, parents also prepare by introducing kids to different activities. Extracurriculars ranging from piano lessons to soccer practice. Even though interests may change, the act of learning new things is a start. Letting students explore their interests and thinking about that they do best is great college planning. Children need to make the connection between learning and fun before realizing the importance of it. At that point the idea of college is not just a responsibility but an adventure.

Preparations can usually last all through elementary school and maybe even into some middle school years. These years are about kids exploring and creating personality. Exposing your kids to all the possibilities of learning teaches them that they are not limited to anything they set their minds to.

Once kids are mature enough to make decisions for themselves it’s time to ask the big question. What do you want to do when you grow up? Middle school can be a great time to ask that question and inform them on what it takes to get to their goals. Since they already know what it is like to learn new things and work for thing from their background in things like piano or soccer they are not afraid to start a new journey. Middle school and high school years are meant to expose them to their goals and show what is it to work for what you want. Doing things like school involvement, maintain good grades, take academically challenging course, get involved in sports, taking ACT or SAT test and practice test are ways to ensure acceptance to universities.

At the end of the day having a nursery with purely Harvard or Yale decorations might be too early but waiting until they are graduating high school is also too late.  Preparation and implementation is important to get your kids into a good college. Although its never to early to start, there are steps to the process.