Conversations About College Start Early

Are you a student aspiring to get a college degree? Are you a parent wanting to encourage your student to see a college degree as an obtainable goal? The conversation of college can be daunting for families. However, the staff at "I Have a Dream" Foundation Boulder County is dedicated to helping families pursue their educational goals without fear.

Wondering if College is Worth it?

Higher Wages

Those with a Bachelor's degree earn 1.6x the amount of high school graduates on average.

Growth

College isn't only a place to intellectually grow. It gives students space to grow personally and socially.

Happiness

Those with at least some college experience tend to be happier with their jobs and lives

Elementary and Middle School

Although your student may be far from choosing a college, there's plenty you can do to get them prepared. Here are some exercises to practice with your child to get them ready for success:

1. Campus Tours: Visit local colleges to get students excited about a whole new world. If distance or time is an issue, you may be able to tour a campus using https://campustours.com/. Program directors also schedule campus tours for their sites!

2. Learn about Different Careers: There are thousands of careers and fields that your student probably doesn't know about. Go to career fairs, talk to your friends, and engage with the IHDF community to expose your student to different career options. Also consider taking the RIASEC test to help your student learn about their employable strengths and weaknesses.

3. Practice self-advocacy: Studies show that first-generation and low-income students are less likely to speak up for themselves and ask for help when they are in need. However, this valuable skill can be learned! To prepare your student for a life of independence, try these self-advocacy exercises.

4. Clubs, Hobbies, and Sports: Help your student explore their interests through clubs and activities including sports, art, and music. These can help your student build a community, reveal talents, and develop skills for academic success.

1. Sports, Extracurriculars and Leadership: Join clubs and engage in communities that you are passionate about. You can even create a club if you can't find one you're interested in!

2. Employment: Explore career interests while earning money. Don't know where to start? Take the RIASEC test to find fields compatible with your personality!

3. Volunteer Work: Give back to your community! Animal shelters, food banks, and hospitals are a great place to start.

4. Take your Hobbies to the Next Level: Interested in a sport? Compete with a team! Love music? Form a band or join the orchestra! Have a special craft or art form? Create a portfolio or even a business!

5. Challenge Yourself in School: Take AP/Honors classes or consider dual-enrollment to earn college credit for free!

6. Build Relationships with Mentors: Teachers, coaches and advisors can write incredible letters of recommendation.

7. SAT Prep: Join IHDF SAT prep sessions in the Fall or study at home with online resources such as Khan Academy.

8. College Tours and Fairs:  Ask questions about academic and social life! Start to consider what your ideal school looks and feels like.

High School
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