What Can You Do?
The most important thing you can do to make it possible for your son/daughter/ward to have educational opportunities beyond high school is to actively encourage his or her educational achievement and interest in learning and to set high expectations for his or her efforts and accomplishments.
Consequently, you should learn the differences among college preparatory, business, vocational, and general high school programs. And you should encourage your student to choose programs which will not limit future education and/or job possibilities.
Help him or her select courses in high school that colleges are looking for--preferably four years of English, three or four years of Math (algebra, geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus), two years of Laboratory Science, History, Social Science, and at least two years of a Foreign Language. These courses will help your son/daughter get prepared for a variety of colleges or professional schools.
Furthermore, encourage your students to participate in sports, clubs, and community service activities as a way to build self-confidence and develop special talents.
In addition, show them you are interested in what they are learning:
- Regularly ask them about school, and listen to what they say.
- Talk with them about the importance of education to their futures.
- Provide a quiet place for them to do homework.
- Call your students' teachers and counselors when you have questions.
- Encourage your students to try new challenges, such as subjects they haven't studied before, trips away from home, or summer enrichment programs.
- Tell them you are proud of their achievements in school.
- Set the expectation that your students attend school daily and be on time. Encourage full participation in Upward Bound activities, both during the summer and the school year.
- If feasible, limit the number of hours of work to 15 hours/week during the school year, with 10 of these hours on the weekend. Any more than 15 hours/week diminishes the amount of time and energy left for education related activities.
- If possible, accompany them on visits to college campuses in their junior and senior years.
Begin to plan now for paying for college:
- Start saving money. As little as $10 a week for the next five years will amount to close to $3000, with interest.
- Open savings accounts for them, and encourage regular saving of some of the money they earn or receive as gifts.
- Ask family members and friends to consider giving your student savings bonds for birthdays or holidays to be used for education.
- Learn as much as you can about the different types of student financial aid. Let your children know that financial aid is available to help with college expenses if they need it.
Who Can Help You?
You don't have to know all the answers to your questions about planning for your student's future education. You just need to know where to find those answers. And you need to be willing to speak up. The only thing about question that can hurt you or your student is if it remains unasked and as a result you make critical decisions without the right information.
- School counselors, teachers, community organizations and Upward Bound Advisors can answer many of your questions about education and careers.
- Public libraries and community education agencies can provide you with information about colleges and financial aid.
- Admissions and financial aid offices at colleges in the community can give you information and advice.
- Upward Bound Advisors will assist you in completing Financial Aid forms.