7) If you can, take them to visit an IV league school just to walk around
They say the best way to get somewhere is to see yourself there. Take your child to that campus and walk around. Go to events there. Apply for summer programs there if possible. The more your child envisions themselves walking around that campus, the more likelihood they will naturally strive to go there. Additionally, it is never too early to become familiar with the steps needed for the admissions process.
6) Teach them how to fail
It may be easy to drill into your high achieving child that they are academic rock stars and will never fail. I have found that a child needs to learn not just that they will fail at some things in life but how to bounce back once they do. Give them tasks and allow them to fail. Teach them how to stand back up if they fall. Show them that failure is a stepping stone not a stumbling block. I have learned first hand that it can be difficult to sit and watch your child be frustrated and defeated when they fail at something. As, a parent I’m still learning how not to internalize their failure. But rather to use it as a precious learning opportunity for further growth. See “Top 7 ways to teach your child how to manage failure” for more tips.
5) Start them in a sport and musical instrument they love
I find that this one can be challenging since middle school kids tend to want to experiment with different sports and instruments. And they typically have not yet developed the persistence to stick with just one. Middle school is a better time for them to experiment than high school. Find that sport and musical instrument your child naturally gravitates towards and foster those skills. Having them excel at a sport and musical instrument is like learning 2 new languages. The earlier you start, the higher the likelihood that language will become a part of them and they will seek to excel in it naturally. Highly selective colleges are looking for well-rounded applicants who can juggle extracurricular activities with grace and leadership in addition to being excellent students and test takers. Preferably they should be excellent at one chosen sport and/or instrument as opposed to mediocre at multiple.
4) Reward them not just for being the top of their class but for trying their best
Start early with rewards for your child being at the top of the class. Get them comfortable with being in the top percentile. If they struggle with this get them extra tutoring and have them work daily on subjects they struggle in. They will learn that even if a subject does not come naturally to them, like anything in life, if they invest time on it daily they can become excellent at it. This life skill of diligence and persistence will get them into and through the challenges of graduating from highly selective colleges.
3) Expose them standardized tests and problem solving early
Most kids are not natural test takers and must work at it. The earlier you expose your kids to these tests the better. Elementary schools are moving more towards common core methods of education which is big on problem solving. Until this becomes a staple, colleges still rely heavily on standardized test scores to weed out applicants. It is never too early to get started on developing these skills. Websites like www.testingmom.com offer sample standardized tests, fun educational games and testing advice for students early in their educational career.
2) Develop a love for reading
In the age of iPhones, iPads, social media and apps there are so many distractions making it difficult to raise kids who would prefer to be consumed reading a good book and not engaged in some screen activity. Many IV league universities state a strong indicator of college admission and success in college is solid love of reading. Successful people like Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates attribute their success to a love of continued learning and growth through daily reading. It is never too early to begin fostering this vital habit in your child. See “Top 7 ways to encourage your child to read” for more tips.
1) Help them find their passion
If a child likes computer games, instead of restricting their game playing, try to find him/her an early computer game coding class they can join. If a child constantly makes a mess with painting, enroll them in an elementary art class. Find that thing the child gravitates towards naturally and nurture it. More than likely, they will excel easily in this area and will tend to naturally, independently seek opportunities for growth and leadership in these areas, both of which are attractive qualities to IV league admission officers.
Have tips that have worked for you? Please share below!