The college study skills class I teach is called THE STRATEGIC COLLEGE STUDENT. For more info on this class, scroll to the bold red writing below.
You already understand why college students and grad students need a high quality college study skills class. You can even see why it makes sense for high school students to take one. (Especially if they’ll be taking dual enrollment college classes in 11th and 12th grades.)
But why would I recommend that middle schoolers also take a college study skills class?
Something magical happens when a middle schooler takes a college study skills class. I’ve seen it a thousand times.
Here, 7 reasons why middle school (or as soon as possible after that) is a great 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 initially object when an adult brings up the idea of a class like this—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. Younger 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 taking page after page of detailed notes.
At the end of class—when I ask to see the notes they’ve taken and I marvel and exclaim over them, these students swell up with pride.
When I explain exactly how to review the notes later to lock in concepts in as little time as possible, they write down every word I say.
One 8th grade girl walked out of my college 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 college study skills 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 an ideal 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 11th and 12th grades, and they tend to apply for and win more college scholarships between the ages of 13 and 26.
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?
Whether your child is in middle school, high school, college, or grad school right now, don’t delay.
Sign up for my free weekly email newsletter now, and you’ll know the next time I’m teaching my 1/2 day STRATEGIC COLLEGE STUDENT class either live or online.
Want a discount on this class?
My TRIBE Members get this class for free. Learn more about my TRIBE Membership and join the waiting list here.
Learn more about my 1/2 day STRATEGIC COLLEGE STUDENT class here.
You can see students ages 12–26 raving about this class here.
Get a quick preview of one of my most popular college study strategies here.
Your young adult child is finished with college, not ever attending college, and not headed to grad school?
Your young adult child will not need this class!
Instead, have him or her read this book: The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter—And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Dr. Meg Jay. It’s a life-changer!
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Imagine your kids not just performing well academically—but also getting through college debt-free.
There’s clear, step-by-step help on how to do this in my book:
It’s a reference book, so nobody reads the whole thing cover to cover. Pick out what you need to read in it using the fast-paced, 10-minute video instructions here.
You can see more than 100 reviews of it on Amazon at:
(Tell your friends.)
You can see why financial advising professionals love LAUNCH, here.
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.
Take a step on this right now. Get regular, inspiring help from me—every Monday morning.
Subscribe to my free weekly email newsletter here.
Do you have specific questions for me about debt-free college and career for your kids?
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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 academic strategist, podcast host, and sought-after speaker for students ages 12–26 and their parents and grandparents. Her writing, speaking, and podcasting 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, Parents Magazine, and US News and World Report, and on CBS News.
Jeannie also helps students apply to law, medical, business, and grad school at her website GetIntoMedSchool.com. You can follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.
This article was originally posted on this blog on July 6th, 2017. It was updated on November 12th, 2020.