Can you imagine your son or daughter making A’s and B’s in high school but still being required to take remedial classes in college?
Unfortunately, this is a predicament that some students face.
Remedial classes increase the cost of education for parents because of the extra time a student spends in college. They also force the schools to spend more to provide the extra programs.
In the case of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, many provide opportunities for underserved students who may not have performed well in high school or on standardized test. Unfortunately, some of these students fail to graduate because of the stress associated with not being ready academically, or from the financial strain that comes with the extra classes and semesters needed.
Regardless of what the report cards says, your child may not be prepared to enter college on track to graduate in four years. And as schools work to cut costs, some are opting to reduce the numbers of students they admit who don’t score high enough on standardized admissions tests.
As parents, we must do more than look at the report card and assume our children are getting the education they need to prepare for college. In the 10th and 11th grades, most students, especially those in the public school system, will take the PSAT (Preliminary SAT). Take a serious look at these scores to determine your child’s weaknesses.
This test is a good indicator of how your child will perform on the SAT, especially if they’ve already taken Algebra I and Geometry. Some parents glance at the test results and discard it. Take time to read the report and ask the school to answer questions about the test scores. Use the results to help your child improve academically – not just to score higher on the test.
In some cases, it may be more effective to enroll your child in a summer program for math, reading/writing instead of an SAT prep class. If your child doesn’t know the material, the prep class may add little or no value.
Find out the reading level of your child. Meet with her teachers to determine if your child is performing at grade level based on what colleges expect, not what the high school requires. Encourage your child to take advance classes.
Some students are not prepared for the amount of material covered in college or the rapid pace of the classes. As parents, we must engage and partner with teachers and administrators to ensure our students are ready.
Evaluate activities that affect your child’s studies: sports, extracurricular school activities, part-time jobs, church events and social activities. Is schoolwork suffering because of these activities? Is your child overcommitted?
On the other hand, how much time does your child spend studying? It may be that they need to learn study and note-taking techniques.
With so many changes to school budgets and the overhaul of the education system, it’s possible that your honor-roll student may have to enroll in a community college before entering the four-year school of his choice because he doesn’t score high enough on admissions tests.
It’s a challenge for every school to meet the needs of students and stay financially sound. Take the time to identify academic issues early and encourage your child to be ready.
Macie Caldwell is owner of Macie Caldwell Consulting Services (www.maciecaldwell.org), a Charlotte business that provides information, tools and resources to parents, students and organizations to assist in preparing students early for college.