Early Awareness Middle Grades

It is never too early to talk to children about going to college. Students must be motivated to dream of getting a college degree, as it’s the first in a series of steps throughout the college-preparation process. In the middle grades, students have the opportunity to plan the steps that will get them through high school and into the college of their choice. The following tools and resources are useful to college-access professionals who not only are helping seniors, but also the youngest of their students. 

Provided below are resources with links directly to the source, followed by a table of descriptions for each resource. Following that is a list of comprehensive programs that would be great for communities or districts looking to implement large-scale early awareness strategies in their area.

Resource Chart

 Early Awareness Resource

 6th Grade

 7th Grade

 8th Grade

Teachers

Counselors

Parents

Classroom

Activity

Individual

Activity

Beat the Middle
Blake Nemelka

            

College Advising Essentials
College Board

                 

College Awareness Activities for Middle School Students
LA Unified School District

             

Financing Your Future
Minnesota Office of Higher Education

             

Federal Aid Checklis
Federal Student Aid

             

Getting Ready: College Planning Guides for Middle School Students
Montgomery County Public Schools

             

The Great College Mystery!
Minnesota Office of Higher Education



 
 
 

High School Planning Timeline
Californiacolleges.edu

             

KnowHow2Go
KnowHow2Go.com

             

Making College a Reality: A Guide for Middle School Parents
Texas GEAR UP

             

Middle School Counselor's Guide
College Board

             

Parent Action Plan
College Board's Big Future

             

Seventh Grade Career Planning Worksheet
College Foundation of North Carolina

             

Step by Step: College Awareness Planning for Communities
NACAC

             

Within My Reach
Minnesota Office of Higher Education

             

Wynn College Planning
Michael Wynn

             



Resource Description

 Resource

 Resource Description

 Beat the Middle

 This is a book created by Blake Nemelka and his brother, who created hands-on activities that middle school students can use to begin planning for college. This book can be used on an individual and family level, or can provide exercises for advisee groups and classes. Available on Amazon.

 College Advising Essentials

 This downloadable PDF is a manual for any college prep adviser or program coordinator who wants to learn more about early awareness programming. It includes more resources, an overview of what to highlight, and activities that can be used with students.

 College Awareness Activities for Middle School Students

 In this PDF describing the “College Month” Activities utilized by the Los Angeles Unified School District, a variety of activities and resources are laid out for teachers or counselors to use with groups of students or in the classroom. It includes games, activities, and general advice for college planning.

 Financing Your Future

 In this PDF handbook for 7th grade students, the process of applying to financial aid, saving for college, and making clear financial goals is highlighted through interactive activities and checklists. Sponsored by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, this resource can be used in classrooms or independently.

 Federal Aid Checklist

 Created by the Federal Student Aid office in the US Department of Education, this guidebook focuses on early grades and provides advice for students all through high school. It explains the steps students must take to qualify for and apply for federal student aid, as well as general tips for college planning.

 Getting Ready: College Planning Guides for Middle School Students

 In three different comprehensive planning guides, the Montgomery County Public School District provides interactive lessons for students in grades 6-8 to planning for high school and college. Each PDF downloadable workbook is intended for individual use but can be utilized as part of group curriculum. 

 The Great College Mystery!

 Also created by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, this interactive PDF outlines a lesson plan for teachers or counselors to use with their 6th grade students to kick off early conversations about college.

 High School Planning Timeline

 This website provides a “clickable” checklist for parents and families to use with their middle school students as they enter high school. It explains the importance of high school as students plan for college.

 KnowHow2Go

 This website explains why college is important directly to students, and also provides resources for teachers and parents as they begin to have college conversations. It provides an exhaustive list of resources, appropriate steps, and questions about college planning.

 Making College a Reality: A Guide for Middle School Parents

 Created by a GEAR UP program in Texas, this PDF provides a useful guide for parents to think about the steps they must take to help their children succeed in college. This would make a great resource to give to parents at the beginning of a program year or school year with new middle school students.

 Middle School Counselor's Guide

 Created by the College Board’s advisory and policy center, downloadable handbook gives middle school counselors a general overview of the kinds of curriculum, activities, and communications they should be including in college planning with middle school students.

 Parent Action Plan

 In this checklist put together by College Board’s Big Future, parents can easily keep track of the steps they are taking to help their children succeed in college. This is a great resource for counselors or program advisors to give to participant’s parents at the beginning of a school year

 Seventh Grade Career Planning Worksheet

 Created by the College Foundation of North Carolina, this downloadable handbook is for teachers to use as a lesson plan for 7th grade students as they work to think about college and career planning. It asks questions about future goals and dreams so that students can figure out what they need from college.

 Step by Step: College Awareness Planning for Communities

 In this comprehensive handbook prepared by the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, activities and resources are provided for parents and counselors to help their middle school students plan for college. It starts early and works through high school to give comprehensive advice.

 Within My Reach

 Created by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, this workbook is specifically designed for eighth grade students to work in class with more advanced checklists, activities, and advice as they plan to enter high school and maintain preparation for college.

 Wynn College Planning

 In this presentation created by Michael Wynn, the expectations for parents raising middle school students are laid out as they work on college planning together. This is a great presentation for program advisers to present to parents to spark college planning conversations in families.

 

Comprehensive Programs

 Organization

 Geared Towards

 Description

 AVID

 Middle School Students

 
Organization that works within schools to teach, counsel, and prepare middle school students for college.

 College and Career Clubs

 Middle School Students

Organization that works within schools and provides student-led leadership curriculum and college planning activities.

 College for Every Student

 K-12 Students

 
Organization that works with school districts to provide comprehensive college planning curriculum.

 GEAR UP

 Middle School Students

 
Federally funded organization that works with entire grade-levels and schools to do intensive academic assistance and college planning.

 Naviance

 K-12 Students

 Organization that works with school districts to provide college readiness curriculum in partner schools.