Parents often ask me if it is too early to start getting ready for college. My answer is always the same: it is never too early. During a child's early years, it is the parents and other adults in the family who get ready. Right after kids are born, parents and grandparents can investigate pre-paid tuition programs and other college savings options to save serious money when tuition comes due.
As children grow through developmental stages in pre-k and elementary school, parents and grandparents can help them develop skills that set the foundation for academic success. The development of social and leadership skills can also pay off big later.
Later, when middle school children are on the diving board to high school, families can help them learn the skills that will help them do well. High school will be a new and intimidating environment, preparing them ahead of time will keep them from floundering and not finding themselves until 11th grade.
Well-prepared children entering high school have goals, know what is important (and what is not) and feel comfortable in their own skin. Such students have a positive self image, good work ethic and an understanding of the importance of achievement in academic and extracurricular arenas. They form friendships with students and teachers, are active in their school and enjoy volunteering. These are the students who become the "well-rounded" students that colleges seek.