How college and career ready is your child?
Preparing your child for college and career readiness is as much the responsibility of the parents as it is the school’s responsibility.
It takes years to prepare for college and career, and that’s what your child has been doing from kindergarten or first grade and on. You’ve been there every step of the way, making sure the homework got done. You bought supplies late at night because a project was due the next day. You even endured endless hours of practice and rehearsal.
Now the high school is talking about college and career readiness. How do you know if your child is ready?
What college and career readiness looks like
Parents, teachers and school counselors may have different definitions of what college and career readiness means.
Many people mistake college readiness for having the recommendation letters and well-written essay needed for acceptance into higher education. For that reason, educators have pushed for a common set of measurements and characteristics that determine the likelihood of future success in post-secondary studies or a career.
The National College and Career Readiness Indicators reveal whether a student is ready for college or a career. The good news is that readiness isn’t determined by a single score or characteristic. Readiness metrics for college, for example, measure achievement in several academic areas:
- Grades earned in dual-credit courses like English and math
- Advanced placement courses completed and exam results
- Performance in remedial English and math courses
- Algebra II
- ACT/SAT scores
Career readiness, on the other hand, focuses on these measures:
- Attendance (90% or better)
- Community service hours
- Workplace experience (industry credentials or internship)
- Career pathway courses (taken for dual credit)
- Participation in co-curricular activities
It’s critical to have a widely accepted definition of college and career readiness. That way, you know the goals you’re working toward.
What you can do to help
College and career readiness is about more than gaining acceptance into a university or the workplace. Readiness means having the skills to be successful in this new environment. Parents can help prepare their children in these ways:
- Ask questions. Communicate with your child about expectations – theirs and yours. What do they think having a career looks like? What would a university experience be like?
- Talk about money. Be upfront about the money that’s set aside for school or training. If it’s not there, say so. Complete the FAFSA application to determine eligibility for financial aid.
- Let your child choose. Your son or daughter must chart their own course based on interest and aptitude.
- Accept uncertainty. The next several years are for exploring options. The path to success may not be a direct one.
The secret ingredient to college and career readiness
It’s never too early to begin working on college and career readiness, especially if you know what’s expected in either trajectory.
Sometimes, however, plans go awry.
Just because your child has not met the criteria for college and career readiness, don’t give up just yet. There are multiple pathways leading to success, and it’s never too late to embark on the journey.