Is Your Child Ready for College? / by David Franz

College does not just happen.  In fact, most students who want to go to college never finish.  In an average Kern County classroom, only 4 of 30 students will graduate from college.  

Here is a handy guide to know if your child is on track to complete college and what you can do to help them.

Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade

The most important thing for students at this age is to learn to read well and to learn to enjoy reading. If your child is not reading at grade level, DO NOT WAIT! It is very important to work on this as early as possible.

What you can do:

  • Surround your child with books. Use the library. Read at night. Listen to audio books.

  • Enroll your child in the Summer Reading Academy (enrollment starts in spring).

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade

Students this age should be reading a lot. They should know math facts well.  They should also be developing interests of their own and exploring them through reading and applying math skills to practical problems.

What you can do:

  • Support your child’s interests. Visit libraries. Take field trips. Ask questions.

  • Enroll your child in classes at the Shafter Learning Center.

  • Have your student work regularly on Khan Academy.

Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade

These are important years for college readiness, especially in math. To be prepared for Advanced Placement (AP) math classes in high school, students should be mastering at least their grade level material on Khan Academy.

What your student can do (more and more will be up to them):

  • Read.

  • Participate in academic competitions and GATE.

  • Spend time daily on Khan Academy.

  • Enroll in classes at the Shafter Learning Center.

High School

Students who want to go to college should not get grades lower than a B in high school. They should pass an AP exam in at least one math/science discipline and at least one humanities/social science discipline before they graduate.  Students who want to attend a selective university should plan on passing more AP exams and at least one before their senior year.  

What your student can do:

  • Take the most challenging classes available.

  • Develop academic interests - read, participate in academic competitions.

  • Choose one or two extra-curricular activities to focus on.

  • Enroll in classes at the Shafter Learning Center to prepare for AP exams.