education

College Readiness Begins in Middle School

To middle schoolers, college may seem like a distant dream in an abstract future. However, the foundational significance of middle school is not to be overlooked. From developing study habits, preparing pre-requisites for rigorous high school work to considering college—middle school students and their families should use these critical years to plan and prepare for the future ahead. Below, consider a few strategic reasons why middle school is the perfect launch pad for success:

·       Taking rigorous courses in middle school builds structured, positive study habits, while insuring that students can take honors and AP courses in high school and reveals potential weak areas. 
Challenging courses inspire students to rise to the occasion, while meeting the pre-requisites for advanced honors and AP courses in high school.  They also offer an opportunity to develop solid study habits and critical thinking skills. With high school just around the corner—where good grades, rigorous curriculum and successful test scores are essential for college admission—middle school courses can provide an early, habit-building framework for your student. What’s more, academic weak spots may be revealed, allowing students to target problem areas through tailored study or tutoring, so that they don’t fall behind come high school.

·       Considering college and career goals during middle school gives students time and perspective to explore interests and talents. By exploring college and career options early on, i.e. middle school, students have ample time to plan for relevant courses and extracurricular activities or clubs. Depending on the student’s interests (i.e. type of college or potential areas of study), students can start planning the high school course trajectory to be competitive or to qualify for advanced courses in Science or Math.  By encouraging self-reflection and experimentation, parents allow their middle schoolers time to grow, find a passion, and tailor their future goals accordingly.

·       Some middle school students can have the opportunity to take standardized tests as they prepare for preparatory high school tests like the HSPT, SSAT or ISEE.  These tests give students the chance to develop test-taking strategies that can be used later in high school—when preparing for college entrance exams like PSAT, ACT, SAT, and AP Exams.  
Honing on middle schooler’s standardized test-taking ability on the three basic educational pillars, namely reading, math and writing, will helpfully demystify the college application process.  Likewise, early standardized testing can provide a litmus test for middle schoolers, revealing which subject areas are strengths versus weaknesses. Middle school students exposed early to standardized test formats and question styles will enjoy essential insight like time management into future exams.

·       Preparing for college during middle school is important for parents, too. 
While middle school students will surely benefit from a proactive approach to college, parents can also use these early years to develop a plan. Creating a long-term budget for tuition, mapping potential college visits, identifying programs of study that may appeal to your child’s interests and strengths, sourcing possible scholarship opportunities—all are ways to get a head-start on college preparedness from a parental perspective.

At Achieve Academics, we recognize each student’s potential—no matter his or her learning style, strengths, weaknesses, or academic goals. Whether your student is prepping for college or brushing up on the basics, we offer a range of small group classes and one-on-one tutoring services. Start off your student’s path to college on the right foot—prepare early and well and he or she will reap the benefits in the years that follow.  

6 Tips to Prevent Summer Learning Loss

There’s nothing quite like the start of summer vacation. For most students, it’s the perfect opportunity to kick back, relax, and enjoy a three-month stretch of school-free bliss. While there’s obvious merit to using the summer break for some much deserved rest and relaxation, it’s also important that students stay sharp for the upcoming school year.

Summer learning loss is that potentially treacherous holiday gap in which a student might become fuzzy on the lessons he or she learned during the school year, letting slide all the knowledge he or she spent hours of energy acquiring in the first place.

At Achieve Academics, we’ve discussed the summer learning loss phenomenon before, but here we’ve compiled a helpful list of tips that may aid students in avoiding summer learning loss this season.

1. Dive into a Good Book

Reading for pleasure is a relaxing, entertaining way to unwind this summer, whether poolside or from the comfort of your couch. Diving into a good book stretches the imagination, exercises valuable reading comprehension skills, and builds vocabulary—all of which are lessons usefully applied in the coming school year.

2. Take a Summertime Field Trip

There are plenty of historical and cultural sites in and around the Plymouth area that are sure to spark a student’s interest, while allowing him or her to brush up on his or civic knowledge. Likewise, museums provide an ideal venue in which to engage a student’s senses and encourage curiosity.

3. Brush Up On Personal Finances

There’s no better way to instill healthy habits at an early age than by introducing a student to practical financial planning. Budgets, cash flow, taxes, savings, the stock market—all yield important lessons that can be utilized for a lifetime. Plus, learning to use these tools encourages students to apply math and reasoning skills in a real-world capacity.

4. A Summer Camp for All Interests

If summer camp is in the budget this season, it can be the perfect venue to get back in touch with academia, or perhaps to further explore an existing interest or hobby. Not only does summer camp provide a much-welcome social venue for young students, it also encourages exploration of nearly any subject under the sun. Does your student love marine biology? Water polo? Computer programming? Theater? No matter the taste, a Savannah summer camp of interest is surely out there.

5. Take a Hike

Studies show that regular physical activity can boost mood, energy, and motivation. Even if exercise doesn’t directly target academics, it can surely help develop positive body image, self-discipline, and a healthy route for stress relief. Shooting for just a half-hour a day of physical activity this summer can make a world of difference by the time the next school year rolls around.

6. Give Back to Your Community

Community service is a rewarding activity that allows young students to practice empathy, expand his or her horizons, and potentially learn new skills. No matter where a student chooses to volunteer this summer, engaging with your community in a meaningful way builds character and maturity, which also positively impacts a student’s self-awareness and discipline for the long term.

Taking advantage of these tips may be the key to creating a memorable summer—so that your student arrives at school this fall full of meaningful experiences, healthy habits, and sharper than ever. Don’t forget, there are plenty of summer learning options here at Achieve Academics, from one-on-one tutoring, to ACT and SAT test prep, to small class learning experiences. No matter a student’s learning style, academic level, or goals, there’s room to grow this summer at Achieve Academics.

Whatever your student’s academic needs may be, Achieve Academics has a summer program that can help. Contact us today at 763-559-8378, or via email at info@achieveacademics.com.