Children are never too young to learn about higher education. Let’s look at some tips on how to prepare your child for college, regardless of their age. 

It might seem too early to get your children ready for college when they’re in preschool or elementary school, but it’s all in the approach. You don’t have to sort through college applications or enroll them in every enrichment activity you find. 

Instead, you can build a foundation that college is an exciting opportunity for them. From the friends you make to earning a degree, you can share the experience with them. The idea is that college isn’t a sudden idea that feels foreign later on. Getting them excited can make them comfortable with the idea of dedicating time to their education. 

Moreover, you make college feel like an attainable goal early on. Raising a college-bound child is about more than good grades and applications. It’s also important to nurture a love of learning and build their confidence and belief they can make an impact on the world. 

So, how can you help your child feel excited about college at a young age? 

1. Foster a Love of Learning

If you want to know how to prepare your child for college early on, it starts with how the view school. When you talk about education, school, or homework, be careful with your tone. 

Is school something you avoid or dread? “No school for two weeks! Yay!” Do you talk about homework as though it gets in the way of life? Changing your tone can foster a positive view of education overall. 

Additionally, it’s important to encourage your child to follow their interests and passions. If your child loves art and comics, give them a sketchbook to fill with their ideas. 

The idea is to stay positive about school activities. At a minimum, you want your tone to be neutral. In doing so, you can frame education as something fun. 

The better your child does in school, the more likely they are to attend college and reap the benefits. 

foster a love of learning

2. Teach Them How to Handle the Workload

By the time your child gets to college, they should be able to handle their schoolwork on their own. Now, you don’t have to leave them to it right away. Instead, you can teach them how to tackle their schoolwork. Over time, you can become less involved. 

In kindergarten, it’s good to sit with them as they do their homework. As they grow, stay in the same room to offer help without looking over their shoulder. By their teen years, they should be able to stay accountable for their own tasks and deadlines. 

When you give your child responsibilities, they develop their study skills and learn to manage the workload on their own. 

3. Involve Them in School Early

Early exposure to a school setting, such as an early Montessori program, helps your child adjust to the learning environment. If your child is not in preschool, you can still do the same activities with them. 

  • Read with them often
  • Introduce letters and numbers
  • Encourage exploratory play
  • Practice self-sufficient activities

4. Start a College Fund

A college fund makes higher education more tangible, even when it seems far away. Set a long-term goal to bridge expenses from now to the future. In the time between, you can save and talk about the prospect of going to college. 

Additionally, the time and money involved in a savings account reinforces the importance of college. It shows your child that college is something worth saving for. 

If your child receives money, you can also teach them about saving. If grandma and grandpa send them $50 for their birthday, suggest they put half into the college fund. Then, saving money becomes a more familiar concept. 

Outside of the college fund, it teaches them long-term saving habits. Every once in a while, you can show them how much is in the account. This shows them that it accumulates over time. 

5. Visit University Campuses

Exposure is an important part of how to prepare your child for college. Visiting a college campus is an early introduction to college. Then, it feels less foreign when they step onto campus as a student. 

You can visit nearby campuses or make a point of stopping by a university on your next vacation. This exposure isn’t about campus tours, though. Show them the exciting opportunities available on different campuses. 

  • Visit the art museums: Many campuses have public art museums. 
  • Get food at the cafeteria or food court: Some campuses have impressive food courts. Visiting them as a kid or teenager can make them far more comfortable with the environment. 
  • Visit a botanical garden: If the biology department has a garden, take advantage of the opportunity. 
  • Have a picnic on the grass: Many campuses have grassy areas that are ideal for a picnic. 
  • Check out the student store: A lot of campuses have a student store, which can make the prospect of college more exciting. Some have retail stores, arcades, and restaurants. 
  • Wander the campus: Take yourself on a tour of the campus and see what it has to offer. 
  • Attend an event for children: Some campuses regularly host family events. Check their schedules and see what appeals to your family. 
  • Go for a run on the track: Check whether the track and field is open to the public and make use of it. 
  • Attend a festival: Universities occasionally host different festivals, for activities, books, music, and more. 
  • Enjoy the fountains: Fountains can be fascinating for a child, and many campuses have plenty. 
  • Sporting events: Take your child to a sporting event at a local college. This can instill a sense of pride in the team and be a fun experience for them. 

All of these activities can make the prospect of college more exciting and accessible. 

6. Encourage Curiosity Through Free Play

Raising a child who loves education starts with exploration. Allow your child to play and tinker with things. Education is a constant for children, and free play allows them to follow their curiosity. 

Don’t pressure yourself into over-scheduling your days. Moreover, you don’t have to enroll them in every class you find. Exposure to extracurricular activities is great. However, it’s crucial to carve out time for them to direct their own time. 

One child might prefer to play basketball while another prefers to read on their own. Your child may prefer to observe the animals in the neighborhood or draw in their sketchbook. Unstructured time allows them to explore their interests. 

7. Make College a Given

One way to secure a strong foundation for college is to make it feel normal. The more you talk about when your child goes to college makes it a given. Then, it becomes a next step and eventually an experience. 

preparing your child for college

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to prepare your child for college can help you instill it as more than a possibility. Keep everything positive. Don’t overload your child or start going through information. 

Instead, frame it as an exciting opportunity to look forward to. When you instill a love of learning and start saving, you set your child up for success. 

Expose your child to the benefits of college life, and you can foster an attainable set of goals – even if they’re in preschool.