3 Red Flags for Parents About Teens’ College Readiness News2america

The data show 37 percent of seniors are ready for college-level math and reading, a slight decline from when the exams were last given in 2013.

Parents of high school freshmen and sophomores who are concerned their child isn’t on the path to undergrad success should watch out for the following warning signs.

• Your teen consistently struggles on key academic skills. Students may be performing well in their courses overall, but could be struggling in specific academic areas that are crucial for success in college, like essay-writing, analyzing literature or on particular math skills, like problem-solving and basic algebra, says Brandi Cooper, a school counselor at Granville High School in Ohio.

Parents should always review their child’s report card, but can dig deeper into their child’s marks on particular assignments if they have concerns, she says. Grades are typically calculated by a combination of assignments, including homework, projects and tests. Even if a student is doing well on one type of task, they could be struggling on another, she says.

Additionally, students should plan to take the PSAT or PreACT preliminary college entrance exams; students can use their results to see if they are on the path to college success.

Families can use this information to focus in on the academic areas where students are struggling to become college-ready.

Your teen is lacking nonacademic skills that are critical for undergrad success. There are many factors that play into whether a student is ready for college, Cooper says, and academic readiness is just one factor.

Students need to develop traits like independence, responsibility, learn how to seek out help when needed and develop the ability to advocate for themselves when they are on their own at college, says Cooper, who is also president of the Ohio School Counselor Association.

Parents can model these skills for teens. For example, a parent might set up a meeting with a teacher to discuss their student’s academic issues, but the student should attend so he or she can learn to take the lead on his or her academics. Together, families and teachers can set goals and agree on a plan to help the student be more successful.

Twitter users chimed in with similar warning signs.

• Your teen isn’t reading enough. “Every night, a student should be reading something,” says Brian Curtin, an English teacher at Schaumburg High School in Illinois. If a student comes home from school with nothing to read, that should be a cause for concern, and parents could contact their child’s teachers to see what students are reading in class, he says.

Students will be reading and writing a ton in college, whether they are a literature or biology major, says Curtin, the 2013 Illinois Teacher of the Year. The majority of reading college students do is nonfiction. Parents should encourage their teen to read different types of material, he says.

And if a student is struggling in writing, that could be a sign that a student is not reading well, he says, since research shows that the ability to write is often a direct indication of reading skills.

If parents are concerned their child isn’t on the path to college success, they should reach out to their child’s teacher to talk about it and see if there’s anything the parent can do, Curtin says.

“Communication solves all problems,” he says.

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