Can You Start College Planning Too Early?

children I’ve worked with a lot of families who waited too long to think about college planning. They regretted decisions and wondered “what if we had only known…” While I can picture dozens of specific families in my mind, I can’t think of any who have come to me regretting their decision to begin planning early.

When is it time to start planning for college?

Like with most family issues involving children I think there should be more of a family mindset than an official start date. (Did you mark you calendars for when you started teaching your kids good manners or to avoid drugs?) My oldest child is in 4th grade and we are already thinking ahead. No, we are not running test prep camp for youth or trying to groom her for an Ivy future. We are building foundational skills, setting expectations, and thinking ahead. She may not see it but I’m already doing some early college planning: 1. Key Academic Skills – I’m keeping an eye on reading, math, writing, and vocabulary development. Does she continue to make progress each semester? 2. Engaging Activities – She calls it fun, but I know activities such as dance, Girl Scouts, book club, and piano help reveal strengths and build talents not always developed in school. 3. Enrichment – We take the attitude that learning is fun. We understand that a lot of learning takes place outside the classroom, so as a family we find ways to enhance and support additional opportunities. 4. Quality People – My father-in-law always said associate yourself with quality people and you would have quality results. We encourage our kids to play with friends who are honest, involved in school, and a positive influence on others. (Old fashioned, I know!) We don’t have a stressed-out, prep crazy, flash card flippin’, grade grubbing child. But we do have a fourth grader who knows education is valued in our family and she needs to do her best. She knows that when she finishes high school she “gets” to go to college to study. So my answer is when you are building long-term goals and fostering a lifetime love of learning, it is never too early to start.]]>

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