Thursday, July 04, 201
BY GERALD M. BRADSHAW
Bradshaw College Consulting
Dear Mr Bradshaw,
Our son will be starting seventh grade in the fall. He is an excellent student, and we want him to continue to do well academically so he can apply to a top college. When should we start thinking about hiring a college consultant or tutor to make sure he stays at the top of his class?
Signed, High School Junior
It’s never too early to start thinking about getting ready for college
The sooner you have an expert evaluate your son’s academic status, the better. Many companies provide tutoring services and suggest the best way to prepare for colleges. There are several well-known tutoring companies with offices in Northwest Indiana and many parents have found their diagnostic evaluations helpful in spotting potential academic flaws. These groups also help students develop good study habits and testing skills. I amaze people when I tell them that my youngest client was three years old. The child of U.S. residents living in Moscow, her parents hired me to find the best preschool in New York City or in the San Francisco Bay Area where they expected to re-locate. They were eager to have their daughter prepared for a top college and wanted to improve her chances for admittance at an early age. Today most of us are aware of the value of preschool where children learn at an early age in a structured, nurturing environment. Not only do students learn how to adapt socially and emotionally with other children, but they learn how to follow instructions from someone other than their parents and become accountable for their actions.
Another less talked-about benefit of preschool is that students learn how to compete with other children. The positive feedback teachers give preschoolers helps them as they move to grade and middle school. These children are less fearful of making mistakes and look forward to teachers helping them. The sooner they realize that making mistakes is part of learning, the better.
Research has shown that children are born learning and that their early years of life significantly impact the quality of their future educational prowess.
You have often heard me mention the importance of earning top grades as a high school freshman. The transition from middle school to high school demands both discipline and focus. This means earning a 4.0 grade-point average and not a 3.25. You cannot average out a poor freshman year, even if you do well as a sophomore and junior. I tutor seventh and eighth graders for the SAT and I also teach a writing program for younger students that focuses on expository writing and essays, including fiction and nonfiction. This training helps them to score well on the writing portion of the SAT. By the time these young clients reach high school, they have increased their critical reading and writing skills, and are well ahead of their classmates.
I also tutor a number of middle school students who plan to apply to top prep schools for high school. Prep schools have admissions requirements, including SAT-type tests and personal interviews.
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The percentage of prep school graduates admitted to Ivy League schools is much higher than public schools. An interesting statistic is, on average, 60 percent of prep school students receive financial aid. This dispels the myth that only rich kids attend prep schools.
And yes, the SAT is still as important as it used to be in spite of the colleges that are now test-optional. There is often a direct relationship to the amount of student aid you may receive if you score well on standardized tests.
In summary, it is never too early to hone a child’s learning skills. Admissions competition at top colleges is growing tougher each year, and anything you can do to increase the odds of academic success for your son is in his best interest.
Gerald Bradshaw is a top US college admissions consultant with Bradshaw College Consulting.
Tags: Colleges SAT Preparation
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