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Academic tips for the summer before college

There are still some things your teen can do the summer before college to brush up on their skills. These tips will help them prepare.
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College academics are challenging; there is no denying that. Your student has to be prepared to take on the demanding coursework required in a college-setting, which will likely feel very different than their studies in high school. Hopefully by now you have established that they are indeed ready to take on college academics. But there are still some things your teen can do the summer before college to brush up on their skills:

Math tips

  • Encourage your student to tutor younger kids in math to brush up on basic subject. Even if it is just for a short time with younger siblings or kids in the neighborhood, there can be a benefit. Bon Crowder, a math professor at Houston Community College, says this is a great way to help solidify key math concepts for students.
  • Have students calculate tips at restaurants when you go out to eat. This is a simple way to practice basic math skills that they will use when they are on their own.
  • Review budgeting basics with them. Have them plan monthly budgets for themselves during the summer so they are prepared for doing it on their own.
  • Highlight examples of math in the real world.
  • If you are driving to drop them off at their college, make your student pack the car. This requires analytical thinking to figure out how to make all of their belongings fit in the (sometimes small) space of your trunk.

English tips

  • Encourage your student to read! “You only get better reading by reading,” Laurie Curtis, former assistant professor at Kansas State University, says. Students can read whatever they want; you get faster at reading by practicing it.
  • Read the newspaper. This can be during breakfast together, or leaving it for them to read later. Talk about current events during dinner or other times to go over what you have read. This is not only helpful for literacy, but will ensure your kid knows what is going on in the world.

  • Highlight the difference between novels you may read for fun and academic textbooks. Curtis suggests emphasizing that you don’t approach everything you read in the same way. For example, you should survey textbook chapters for titles, subheadings, and bolded words before starting to read them. You likely wouldn’t do this with a fiction novel you are reading for fun.
  • Buy a journal for your student and suggest they keep notes and reflections about their summer before college. This is not only a great way for them to practice expressing themselves through writing, but it will be a great memento for them to look back on.

  • President-Elect of the National Council of Teachers of English, Jocelyn A. Chadwick suggests encouraging your teen to reflect on how they are feeling during this transition time.