College Facts: How Early Do You Start College Planning?
By Dave Berry
Almost everyone knows we live in a competitive society, especially when it comes to matters of college admissions. Just how competitive we've become was brought out by Steve Stecklow in The Wall Street Journal. Here are some of Steve's observations:
"Improve your study habits. Think about applying to college on an early-decision basis. On a campus interview, give a firm handshake and make eye contact.
Advice for high-school seniors applying for college? Nope. It's from 'The Kids' College Almanac--A First Look at College,' a new guidebook intended for children as young as 10.
The purpose, the authors write, isn't 'to pressure youngsters,' but to 'demystify college and to answer the kinds of questions young people think about at this age.' Co-author Barbara C. Greenfeld, director of admissions and advising at Howard Community College in Columbia, Md., says elementary-school students, especially those with older siblings, often are curious about college. 'Just like we have books about the birds and bees, when kids have questions and it's a teachable moment, it's really nice to have information in language they can understand,' she says.
But some people think that kids shouldn't have to worry about college at so tender an age. Bill Tracey, a college counselor at the University of Chicago Laboratory High School, says telling youngsters about the admission process is 'ridiculous.' He says students 'get very anxious. My feeling about this is, you're going to produce anxiety much earlier.'
The book does cover how kids can start preparing for college - exploring programs for the gifted, reading from a book list that includes Dostoevski's 'The Brothers Karamazov' and Flaubert's 'Madame Bovary' and putting aside '$5 a week' to start a college fund."
And you thought asking your high-school junior where he or she wants to go to college was premature!