Starting high school is exciting and unnerving at the same time. Your children have to adapt to a new learning environment, new standards, and new possibilities. And university feels like a lifetime away. But the last two years of secondary school (Sekundarstrufe II) are not that long. Before they know it, your children have to start considering their plans for a university degree. Today we are talking about how you, as a parent, can help prepare your child for university studies.
When should the preparations start?
It is never too late to begin preparing for university, however, early preparation while your child is still in the lower secondary level (Sekundarstrufe I) will give them more time to identify the skills they will need. And it is never too early to start thinking about extracurricular activities and volunteer work while concentrating on academic excellence.
How to help your child prepare
Preparing for university studies is more than just getting accepted into a school. It also involves developing the skills and knowledge needed to succeed once enrolled, such as good study habits and strong writing skills.
Create an academic plan
The most crucial component of your child’s university application will be their average required grade. Your children’s academic plan should outline the courses they wish to take throughout high school. It should also include all the classes they need to graduate, as most of the grades collected in the last two years are included in the final Abitur grade. That is why students need to think very carefully about the course choices in the upper secondary level years.
Develop good study habits
A high average grade requires good study habits. Building those study habits throughout high school will help your children succeed as classes get harder in high school and progressively more at university. Some crucial study habits include:
- Creating and adhering to an organisational system.
- Completing assignments fully and on time.
- Note-taking in class.
- Effective and efficient time management.
- Determining where and how your child studies and works the best.
Explore career interests
High school is a great time for your child to begin exploring their interests and how they may affect their future career. Encourage them to talk about the jobs they see other people doing. Or what jobs might be relevant to their interests, skills or aspirations? There are many things you can do to help your child plan for a career.
Research different universities
The last couple of years in high school are also a great time to build a list of potential universities and fields of study. Some specific factors to think about during this research phase include:
- Public or private
- Available programmes of study
- Sports, clubs, and extracurriculars
- Atmosphere and student body
- Cost and potential for scholarships
This research should also include touring some university campuses and having discussions with admissions officers.
Build life skills
Preparing your child for university studies also means making sure they are ready for a greater level of independence and responsibility. For example, they will have more control over their schedule, but that also makes it easier to procrastinate. The organisational and time management skills your child has acquired throughout high school will be crucial for them to stay on track at university.
It is also crucial to build basic life skills, such as teaching your children to do their own grocery shopping and meal preparation, manage medications, do laundry, etc. Even the smallest of steps will pay off in the long run as your children move to the next phase of their life.
We hope this article helps you prepare your child for university studies. If you want to find out more about Mentora Gymnasium, you can make an appointment and visit our school or take part in one of the regular open days we host.