Preparing Kids for College -- Starting in Kindergarten

Family Matters on 05.10.11


Photo: Herkie/Creative Commons 

The College Board -- the same group that oversees the SAT -- is testing a new program that could get kids excited about college long before they start practicing their analogies: The Urban School Counseling Initiative targets kindergarten students in cities from Boston to Salt Lake City, reports The Washington Post

Counselors in Tennessee's Metro Nashville school district have already started talking to the town's youngest students about "what college is, how to save for it, and how to prepare through course selection," according to The Tennessean

While it may seem slightly premature to pair lessons about advanced education with those teaching the alphabet, encouraging kids to plan for college from the time they're young can have a lasting impact: The College Board's Patricia Martin says that many low-income students will talk themselves out of college before they reach sixth grade -- and won't change their minds without parental intervention. 

As part of the program, counselors will continue to work with kids through middle school and high school, when the focus shifts from a general emphasis on higher education to more specific instruction on admissions and applications. But for the kindergarten students, the program will highlight the kinds of jobs that require a college degree.

But as The Tennessean points out, asking kindergartners to define "college" shows just how much they already know: Said one student, "College means you go somewhere so you can have a great job when you grow up."



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