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How Do You Know if Your High School Student is College-Ready?

How Do You Know if Your High School Student is College-Ready?

March 30, 2016

College Now LogoDual enrollment programs, like Cedarville’s College Now, are great ways for your high school (and even middle school) student to get a head start on college courses, and potentially save money on total college costs. But how do you know if your student is ready for college-level work?

As you start to make decisions for your student's next academic year, today's guest contributor, Paula Kordic, Cedarville’s Dual Enrollment Coordinator, gives some practical ideas of what to look for to determine if your student is ready.

If the question posed in the title of this post were not daunting enough, consider that the state of Ohio’s new College Credit Plus program now allows a seventh grader to participate in a dual credit course – as long as the admitting college or university deems the student “college ready.” 

So how do you know if your student is “college ready?” Aside from meeting college admissions standards, students who have been successful in Cedarville’s College Now program seem to possess the following personal characteristics: 

  1. Excellent verbal and written communication skills, especially written. Ask yourself: Can my student clearly, coherently, and concisely express thoughts and arguments in writing, or does he or she need more time to develop this essential skill?
  2. Critically reading and critically thinking at a much higher level than high school classrooms (or middle school classrooms). The amount of reading material required in a rigorous college course can be overwhelming for a dual credit student. Students are asked to participate in small-group discussions based on concepts presented in the reading material. Ask yourself: Can my student thoughtfully participate in a discussion with students already in college who are more practiced at college-level analysis and expression? 
  3. All the “self” words: self-discipline, self-direction, self-awareness, self-confidence. The college-ready student is able to succeed with less direction and less intervention from instructors (and parents). Ask yourself: Does my student successfully organize and juggle his or her current activities without my constant checking, or does my student mostly rely on me for organization, direction, and problem solving? Another important question: Does my student have the confidence and maturity to interact with a college professor or college adviser when confronted with problems, or will they need my help?
  4. Tenacity with a capital T. Ask yourself: When the reality of being a dual credit learner settles in – pushing through a tough assignment late at night, experiencing a first low grade, or having to choose to study for his or her college course over something more pleasurable – will my student want to quit or persevere to a successful end? 

For additional helpful thoughts on this topic, I recommend "Soft Skills, Strong Success: Fifteen Skills for College Readiness" by Vickie Nelson. 

Posted in College Now