Making The Grade: Getting High School Seniors Ready For College

72179(NAPSI) – Nearly 17 million high school seniors graduate each year, the U.S. Department of Education estimates, and many plan to attend college. But are they all really college-ready?

Data suggests the answer is a resounding “no.” According to the 2015 “Condition of College & Career Readiness” report from American College Testing (ACT), 31 percent of the ACT-tested graduating class is not meeting any of the four subject benchmarks: reading, English, science and mathematics.

These low-readiness test scores coincide with college dropout figures that top 29 million, making the number of Americans who have dropped out of college greater than the number of American adults who have not obtained their high school degrees.

“While test scores provide a benchmark for high school seniors, college readiness is an important issue for everyone headed to college, whether they are a new high school graduate or an adult learner returning to the classroom,” said Jennifer Fletcher, Ph.D., program dean for general education at University of Phoenix. “Being prepared for the challenge can help ensure students aren’t forced to take remedial course work and are able to stay motivated and on top of their workloads, ultimately resulting in a successful collegiate experience.”

The pressure to earn a college degree is higher than ever. The White House has set an ambitious goal of producing a higher share of college graduates than any other nation by 2020. The plan is to return theUnited States to the top-ranked nation after dropping into twelfth place.

“More and more, employers are seeking college graduates for jobs that previously required a high school diploma or other subbaccalaureate training,” Dr. Fletcher said. “For the nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults who do not have a bachelor’s degree or higher, this can create barriers to career growth, unless they are able to pursue higher education.”

She offers the following advice to high school seniors and adult learners heading off to college:

  • Use summer months to take courses in English and mathematics to refresh high school level skills. Courses can be taken at community colleges or via online professional development resources such as University of Phoenix’s continuing education programs, Udemy, StraighterLine and Lynda.com.
  • Don’t overburden your first semester course load. There are always opportunities to add courses deeper into your college career or over summer and winter intersessions.
  • Team up with your college adviser your first semester. College advisers are available to discuss your goals and a graduation timeline and can offer guidance on the best ways to manage coursework.
  • Attend skills center sessions for assistance in coursework and free proofreading.
  • Organize study groups with peers to work together on complex materials and to gain different perspectives to approaching assignments.
  • Take advantage of college tools and resources. Computers, Internet access, office hours and a study location free of distractions are all things students can access that affect student success. When you couple this with healthy organizational and study habits, students can improve their chances of having a positive academic journey.

Learn More

To learn more about University of Phoenix College of Humanities and Sciences, visit www.phoenix.edu/colleges_divisions/humanities-sciences.html.

Tips To Help Children Retain Academic Skills

During long vacations, parents can protect their youngsters from losing what they learned in school.

retain-education(NAPSI)-Even when school’s out, children need not lose those hard-earned academic skills.

Most students experience some regression over a long vacation, such as a summer vacation or other extended break. Standardized tests show that students in general education and with moderate disabilities regress by approximately four percent, or about one month, according to research by Tilley, Cox and Staybrook. Students with severe disabilities regress at a faster rate and have more difficulty regaining lost skills. These students can lose not only academic skills, but also language, gross motor, fine motor and self-help skills. Research also shows the vacation break is more detrimental to spelling and math skills-especially math computation-than to reading.
(more…)

The Smart Way For Children To Surf the Web

(NAPSI)-If your children seem to feel a connection to the computer, they’re not alone. Studies show that 65 percent of American children use the Internet from home, school or some other location, a 50 percent growth rate since 2000.

Educators say the growth can be seen everywhere. In homes, schools, and libraries across the country, more children are logging on, more often, for longer periods of time.

For example, cleverclubhouse. com is a virtual “kids club” that provides children ages 3 to 8 with a safe, entertaining and educational surfing experience. The site has over 90 interactive activities that serve as fun ways for users to develop important educational skills.

Each child user has a personal online room that he or she can design, and the site features graphics and sounds to engage children-even if they are still too young to read.

(more…)

Twelve Tips for a Terrific Kindergarten Experience

By Adam Eisenson*

Editor’s Note: Four of our nine grandchildren start kindergarten this year, so we thought it’d be a perfect time to get some advice from our favorite elementary school teacher, Marc’s son, Adam.

Even if you’ve armed your child with love and support, and even if you’ve both been looking forward to this milestone for a long time, walking away from her on the
first day of kindergarten is bound to be a heart-wrenching experience for each of you.

To ease this transition toward independence for my children and yours, I’ve spoken to parents, other teachers, school administrators, and pediatricians to
compile these tips:

(more…)

Ten Things To Do When You Read With Your Children

(NAPSI)-It’s never too early to start reading to your children-to turn the first page on a lifetime of literacy. Even 6-week-old babies like the feeling of closeness when a parent, grandparent or other caretaker reads to them.

Here are 10 tips on reading with children from the Partnership for Reading (www.nifl.gov/partnershipforreading/index.html)-a collaboration between the National Institute for Literacy, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the U.S. Department of Education:

(more…)

Protecting Children’s Eyes

(NAPSI)-Many parents protect their children’s skin from harmful UV rays by using sunblock. Many forget, however, to protect children’s eyes from the damaging rays of the sun.

A recent study conducted by the Vision Council of America found nearly half of parents (45.9 percent) reported it’s “seldom” their children wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection, or that their kids “never” do.

The statistics are alarming because studies show extended exposure to UV rays can lead to an increased risk for cataracts and macular degeneration. This risk is even higher for children because the lenses in their eyes do not block as much UV light as do adults’, and because they tend to spend a lot of time outside.

(more…)

Plan Ahead For The Start Of School

(NAPSI)-When summer wanes and fall approaches, many parents will be looking for ways to help their children get ready for school.

Ranny Levy, president of the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media (kidsfirstinternet.org), suggests ways that parents and caregivers can ready youngsters for the coming school term.

Organizing a schedule at home can help prepare a child who will be going to school for the first time. Parents can set a timeline for chores and activities and be sure that the whole family follows through. Children respond positively when they know what is expected of them and have a game plan to follow, an important approach for any new experience. Levy also suggests that parents establish the school-year bedtime schedule before the first day of school.

Tips for parents with youngsters returning to school also include arranging play dates with school friends or celebrating the start of school with a party. If children have not been reading over the summer, parents might institute an after-dinner story hour.

(more…)

Advice for Parents: Guiding Students Through the Rigors of SAT

For those of us who had to spend hundreds of hours studying for the dreadful SAT test, the memories might be too vivid. Learning obscure rules related to sentence structure errors, Algebra, and Geometry seemed like a curse one had to endure in order to gain admission into a selective college.

The SAT has undergone some changes in the recent years, but it certainly did not become easier. To make things worse, competition for admission at most American colleges and universities has become more pronounced. As a result, hundreds of thousands of high school juniors and seniors struggle with SAT preparation every year. Sure, there are prep courses costing between $499 and $1,199 that help students learn test-taking techniques and shortcuts. But with few families able to afford these fees, most students are left on their own to prepare for the test.

(more…)

Fun Ways To Build Childrens’ Reading Skills

(NAPSI)-You can help your child build valuable skills by incorporating reading elements into everyday activities.

Below are a few suggestions for kids of various ages taken from the booklet 25 Fun Ways to Encourage Reading from Schwab Learning, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids with learning differences be successful in learning and life. You can download a free copy of this booklet and other publications at www.SchwabLearning.org/pubs.

  • Notebook of Sounds-Create an alphabet of pictures (preschool to grade 1): Choose a sound from the alphabet and ask your child to cut out pictures of things that begin with that sound. Have her glue the pictures onto paper. Label the page with the letter that makes the sound. For example, the “P” page might includes pictures of a pig, a pencil or a pipe. Use a three-hole punch to fill a notebook. Collect the whole alphabet.
  • Twisted Words-Putting words together was never this kind of workout! (grades 1 to 2): Take the big plastic sheet from the game TwisterÂȘ or make your own version from white plastic bags taped together. In each of the 24 circles print a letter of the alphabet, then call out simple words for your child to “spell” by putting a hand or foot on the appropriate letters. Four “circles” are the maximum length of a word-two hands and two feet. (Try to plot out different letter combinations of vowels and consonants beforehand to make sure you “spell” a good number of words.) To complete a word, your child has to get a hand or foot on all four letters, requiring her to twist into various positions.
  • Market Match-Turn grocery shopping into a match game (grades 2 to 5): Plan a meal with your child and compose a menu. Ask your child to help you make a list of items you need from the market based on the menu. Whenever possible, specify the brand names of products to add complexity. For example, ask him to write the brand name, such as StarkistÂȘ rather than simply tuna. This will encourage him to read the labels rather than just identify them by location or packaging. When you are at the store, have your child read the labels and match them to the items on your list. If you use coupons, match coupons to the items as well.
  • Music to Read By-Music can help make reading seem less of a chore and more of a joy (grades 3 to 5): Have your child read the verses to her favorite popular songs-most albums and CDs come with the lyrics printed inside. Read the verses again as you listen and sing along to the music together. If someone in your family plays an instrument, buy music books that feature the lyrics and ask your child to accompany them in an impromptu performance.
  • Reporting, Live!-Bring out the budding journalist in your child (grades 4 to 5): Pick a special “news” night and review the newspaper with your child. Focus on the sections of interest to your child (sports, entertainment, even the comics for younger children). Ask your child to read the article and then report back to you as a real television reporter might. He can involve other family members as interview subjects, or even use props.

A little creativity often goes a long way in encouraging a child to read.

Feeling Tense About Applying To Colleges? Tips For Parents

(NAPSI)-For high school juniors and seniors, back-to-school means the start of all that pressure about getting into colleges. With school counselors so busy–sometimes serving over 1,000 pupils each–it’s hard to get personal advice. And parents often don’t know how to help.

“The most important thing is to let your child explore colleges for him/herself and provide the tools and the freedom to do so,” says Dr. Katherine Cohen, founder of IvyWise, one of the nation’s leading and most exclusive private admission counseling firms. “This doesn’t have to be such a tense time. It can be a positive experience of genuine self-discovery.”

Competition is stiff. Many students apply to colleges accepting fewer than 50 percent of applicants–1.4 million applications go to only 223 institutions. IvyWise techniques have been very successful. Ninety percent of clients last year were admitted to one of their top two choices; 100 percent were admitted to one of their top three.

But private counseling is expensive. So this fall, Dr. Cohen and her colleagues are introducing a new program to help level the playing field.

It’s called ApplyWise (www.ApplyWise.com). It offers the same techniques in an online, easy-to-use format that keeps parents informed, provides privacy to students and is remarkably affordable. The goal is to help students get into the college of their choice.

ApplyWise consists of 12 interactive counseling sessions during which students complete key tasks that help them through the admissions process. A personalized home page, scheduling tools, calendar, worksheets, templates, and samples from successful applications help them create the most successful application for themselves. There are links to helpful sites and automatic e-mails, text messages, podcasts, reminders and tips to keep them on schedule as they assemble their college list, create their “brag sheet” and write their essays.

ApplyWise starts in September. The full 12-session program is $299. It can be done over junior and senior years, or seniors can start this fall and complete all 12 sessions before the January application deadlines. Other options include telephone counseling and essay review.

For more information, visit www.ApplyWise.com.