We know how important your involvement is in your child's education - we also know how difficult it can be to stay on top of all of the important steps in planning and preparing for college.  

Below you'll find this month's content - LEARN (info to know), DO (action to take), and TIPS (insights for success)


Why Extracurriculars are important: Quality over Quantity 

Students learn as much outside of the classroom as they do inside of it – sometimes more!  The extra-curricular activities that students take part in help shape the type of person they become and the skills they acquire and develop.  

It is so important for students to have interaction outside of the classroom beyond just time with their friends.   Having a purpose, taking part in group or team activities, holding a part-time job, and getting outside their comfort zone can be extremely helpful for their academic, social, and emotional development.

The right extra-curricular activities or job can help your student learn a new skill, meet new people, prepare for a future career, and/or fulfill a passion.  Maybe they take part in a community theater group, a team sport at school, become a grocery cashier, or take part in a regularly scheduled volunteer activity – either way, it is the quality of the activity, and not the quantity, that prospective colleges are looking for.

Colleges like to see that students have chosen a few activities and given significant effort to each - they’ve stayed with the same group and, over time, have taken a leadership role like Treasurer, Editor, Vice President, or Captain.  Being elected to a higher role shows that the student can garner the respect of their peers and work well with the staff who oversees the group.  Having a part-time job shows responsibility, the ability to follow instructions and that they can work well with customers and/or superiors.

Finding a couple of extra-curricular activities is as important to a college application as good grades.  Help them balance their time and responsibilities.  Encourage them to make some good choices and show them that you, too, support their endeavors by going to their games, reading their articles, attending group fundraisers, or frequenting their place of business.  They will take it more seriously if they see that you are interested in their success.  


Identify 3 Activities 

Take some time this month to talk with your 8th grader.  Learn a bit more about their interests.  Then, help your student identify the right activities for them to be involved with for the long term: whether high school related, like Key club or the Student Government, or outside of school like club soccer or volunteering at the YMCA.

Search your future high school’s activity or athletics websites, pick up a park district flyer about summer activities, or talk to other parents about activities in the community.  Engaging in only a few activities shows exhibits loyalty and allows the student to grow into leadership roles within that group.  

TIP #1

It's easy for students to let their schoolwork slide a bit near the end of 8th grade. Remind them of the importance of finishing the school year strong. (Some high schools may re-evaluate their course placement for next year based on these final semester grades.)

TIP #2

We spent some time this year considering possible career options for their future.  Well, summer is around the corner, it’s a great time to think of some opportunities to job shadow in a career of interest to them.

myOWNEDU for Schools!

We work with schools to bring college planning courses to students and offer free College Planning Presentations for parents.  Learn more by clicking here.