To get straight to my study skills class information, scroll to the red writing below.
Something magical happens when a middle schooler takes a college study skills class. I’ve seen it a thousand times.
Oh, I know that on the surface it would seem to make more sense to give kids college study skills training right before they’re actually going to need it. . .
* Right before starting a “dual enrollment” college class (or AP classes) in high school
* Right before moving into dorms freshman year
* Right after a disastrous semester where the grades were C’s and D’s and a lot of tuition money was wasted
Those are all fantastic times to take a college study skills class. But 7th or 8th grade? That’s absolutely magical.
7 reasons why MIDDLE SCHOOL is the best time for your kid to take a college study skills class:
1. A class like this shapes the way the student sees herself and her future.
Middle schoolers tend to feel immensely flattered that someone—a parent, a teacher, or a middle school youth pastor—sees them as so intellectually capable that the topic of college is coming up already.
Oh, every student will object initially when an adult brings up a class like this of course—but once the student knows that attending is not negotiable, even a “low-to-average” achieving middle school student will secretly start to feel an internal glow of pride about it.
When middle school students attend a college study skills class, they begin to feel a subtle but distinct shift in how they view themselves and their future life. They start to see this line item being written into the overarching plan for their lives: “I’m going to college!”
2. Middle school students eagerly devour this material.
After just about five minutes in my college study skills class, students are sitting straight up on the edges of their chairs, ears and eyes wide open.
The minute I finish explaining the importance of taking notes with pen and paper and not with computers, these students are drawing vertical lines down the margins of their papers and taking page after page of detailed notes. When I ask to see the notes they’ve taken at the end of the class and I marvel and exclaim over them, they swell up with pride. When I explain exactly how to review the notes later to lock in the concepts in as little time as possible, they write down every word I say.
(One 8th grade girl walked out of my study skills class and told her mom: “Sorry, mom—I can’t go get ice cream with you now. I’m doing a a systematic review method and I have to review these notes I just took.” And I wasn’t even giving her a grade for learning this material.)
I find that middle school students are especially eager to listen, eager to take notes, eager to review, and eager to implement the strategies after they’ve learned them. This presents an opportunity that is just too valuable for us to overlook.
Parents, if your kids balk at coming to this class when you first bring it up—pay them to attend if that’s what it takes. You’ll recoup the investment 100 times over later.
3. Every student loves it when I say these words:
“Some of you here today have never, ever worked up to your ability level in school. Some of you are the last people your teachers would ever think would go to college. Well let me tell you something. Some of you sitting here today are going to surprise everyone. You know why? Because it’s not brains or genetic ability that make you good at college. It’s strategy and organization. Pure and simple. And anyone can learn that.”
4. Brain development research tells us that middle school is the perfect time for us to be talking about these things.
Middle schoolers’ brains are growing at an explosive rate—faster than at any time since infancy. Neural pathways are being pruned and strengthened, and so any experience they have during these years is likely to stick with them—in technicolor—for years and years afterward. Often for a lifetime. I want it to be during these years that they are first reached with the message of what it takes to succeed in college. If we are able to do this, the college success strategies we give them will be locked in in ways they will not be if we wait until just before or during college.
5. Students who learn college study skills early on do better in high school.
They get better grades in high school, they take and pass more CLEP tests, they succeed at higher levels in dual enrollment courses in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades, and they tend to apply for and win more college scholarships between the ages of 13 and 22.
And after college is over? They’re the students who end up most likely to get their grad school paid for.
6. Students who take this path will walk onto their college campus with a 6-year track record of organizing their academics in ways that actually work.
When these students hear college friends talking about ridiculously ineffective college strategies like keeping track of due dates in their heads, or waiting until the last minute and cramming for exams, they’ll look at those friends like they’re completely out of their minds.
7. Students who learn high-level college study skills early on tend to feel greatly relieved of fear and pressure.
One bright, capable 8th grade boy recently wrote on my course evaluation for the college study skills class I teach: “This class has helped take away a lot of my fears about college.”
How much is that worth to a parent?
Students and parents, sign up for email updates on this site so you’ll know the next time I’m offering this class:
THE STRATEGIC COLLEGE STUDENT: How to Get Higher Grades While Studying LESS Than Most Other People
For students ages 12–26 and their parents
There’s not a student alive who wouldn’t love to get higher grades than anyone else while studying LESS than most other people.
In this 3-hour class, students age 12–26 learn the advanced studying, test-taking, and paper-writing strategies that top students use to succeed at the most prestigious colleges in the country while still having plenty of time left over for leadership, interning, and having more fun than they ever thought possible.
Students will leave at the end of this class armed with a systematic review method developed at Carnegie Mellon University that can completely eliminate the need to ever cram for exams.
Are you a student age 12–26?
This class will help you to maximize your potential in high school and in college, give you more time to relax, and help you to become a top contender both for scholarships, and for career or grad school success after college.
Who should attend this class?
This class is ideal for current high school students, middle school students, current college students, graduate students, and teens who’ll be starting dual enrollment college courses this coming fall. Parents are encouraged to attend as well.
Take a look at what others are saying about this class.
Be the first to know when I next teach this class.
Subscribe to my free weekly email newsletter where it says “sign up for email updates” on this site, whitelist the newsletter using the instructions here, and you’ll be notified of your next opportunity to register.
Remember, parents, a key part of your job is setting your kid up for successful college and career life.
For clear, step-by-step help getting your kids through college debt-free, don’t rely on a loose collection of blog posts. You’ll miss hundreds of details that way. Instead, get your copy of my book:
You can “Look Inside” the book on Amazon for free by going to:
(Tell your friends.)
You can see the “Top 9 Questions Parents Are Asking Me About LAUNCH,” here.
Read just one chapter of LAUNCH every 1-3 months while your child’s in middle school and high school, and you’ll know every viable strategy for debt-free college at exactly the right time to implement it.
And if your child’s already well past middle school? That’s OK; you can run to catch up. But the process of getting your kids through college debt-free goes more smoothly the earlier you start it – especially if you’re not planning to save up any money to pay for college.
Do you have friends who are currently parenting college-bound students age 12- 26?
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What about you?
How old were you when you took your first college study skills class? Do you think you could have benefitted from taking it sooner? How so? Comment below or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook, find this post on that page, and let’s talk about it there.
Who is Jeannie Burlowski?
Jeannie is a full-time author, academic strategist, and speaker. Her writing and speaking help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directly into careers they excel at and love. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, USA Today, NerdWallet, and US News and World Report.