Teaching for Tomorrow: 5 Strategies for Ensuring Your Students Are College Ready

Encouraging your students to be engaged in their education can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. While it may be tempting to throw in the towel and let academic natural selection run its course, students invested in their education are more likely to succeed and have more options to choose from when forging their academic paths post-graduation. That said, educators should make a concerted effort to identify students veering off the path to success and put them back on track to a college acceptance letter. 

Unfortunately, not every school prepares its students for life post-high school graduation, especially when it comes to college readiness. Students unprepared for higher education may pay more tuition for remedial classes, and some even feel so overwhelmed that they decide to drop out. No matter which path they choose, students should never feel like their post-grad options are limited. 

As a teacher and educator, here are five strategies you can utilize to better prepare your students for their continuing education after high school.

Coach them on setting realistic expectations

As students begin to reach their junior year, they should start their search for colleges they’d like to attend. When you guide and support your students through the college application process, one of the first steps should be to build their college list. Your students may latch onto name-brand schools and schools with championship-winning sports programs, but encourage them to keep an open mind to other schools. Students’ lists should include a couple of reach schools and safe schools, with the bulk of the list comprising target schools that are a good match. Give your students tools like the College Acceptance Calculator from CollegeData (https://www.collegedata.com/), so they can identify which colleges fall into which category.

Have high expectations for every student

Decades of research have shown that when people have high expectations for others, they influence their success significantly. This psychological phenomenon, named the Pygmalion effect, has circulated throughout the educational community and has been used to encourage students’ success. It’s crucial to match your high expectations with the necessary support your students need to meet them. Otherwise, they may feel overwhelmed. However, through verbal cues and subtle actions, you can cultivate an environment in your classroom where every student feels empowered to succeed.

Encourage exploration of all fields of study

Not all students enter college intending to graduate with a high-paying, corporate job or continue in academia. In fact, many students may dream of unconventional paths or entering into vocational programs and succeeding in those fields instead. Destigmatizing the pursuit of all post-grad pathways helps students succeed no matter where their dreams lie.

Emphasize critical thinking skills

Regardless of what subjects your students choose to pursue in college, they’ll need to utilize critical thinking skills. Unfortunately, high schools don’t always foster explorative environments where students can be openly curious. To begin teaching your students how to think critically, involve questioning in your teaching. Rather than just dismissing “wrong” answers, take the opportunity to ask more questions, granting students the ability to arrive at the correct conclusions on their own. Developing critical thinking skills early on will help students succeed in college, where critical thinking is the key to success.

Increase access to advanced courses

One of the best ways of preparing your students for college is to expose them to advanced courses that mimic how college classes work. Not only does taking advanced classes help students boost their GPAs and help their transcripts stand out, but it also shows students what college’s academic expectations are. Offering opportunities for students to engage with more rigorous coursework both in the classroom and extracurricular settings will help them prepare for the challenges of college classes.

The bottom line

As an educator, the work you do to prepare your students for higher education will shape your students’ futures and the future of the world you live in. Developing your students’ skill sets and empowering them to grow will set them up for success in college and beyond.


TBN Editor

Time Business News Editor Team