An insightful look at prepping for college, starting early in childhood, can be found in the new book, Tom Joyner presents How to Prepare for College, which journeys through life’s key years, defining appropriate steps to take and significant resources to access in order to attend college.

Parents are advised about standards and guided through the college admissions process. How to Prepare for College is an ideal starter guide for children and parents to navigate the college process from preparatory years through high school.

Tom Joyner, whose syndicated radio show is based in Dallas, also worked afternoons at Chicago’s WGCI during the 1980s while commuting from Dallas where we did morning radio and was known as the “Fly Jock.” He wrote the forward to the book.

According to the book’s authors, Thomas and William LaVeist, preparing for college begins in elementary school. Unfortunately, most parents wait until children are close to going to college to start preparing for the journey. This is far too late.

In elementary school, many children determine how they view the world and themselves, and start to determine who they want to be. They begin core subjects that will take them through school, starting with the process of recognizing words and reading. They also learn math, science and social studies. If any of these subjects were lacking, children would have a deficit early in life that could affect their later choices.

Middle school is the time when children take what they learn and begin to develop study habits. They also develop more social skills and feel the need to hang with peers. This is the stage when socialization can conflict with education. Children will continue to build on core skills and apply what they learn in papers.

High school is the final step in college preparation. Friends exist, but high school is the level where parents and guidance counselors play an important role in directing students with life goals. During high school, students can take advanced placement tests and get credit for college level courses that benefit them. They can work for a high grade point average (GPA) as colleges seek to distinguish between applicants with this score. During high school, students will take either the SAT or ACT, standardized college admissions exams. These exams, along with grades and extracurricular activities, form the students’ background being considered by entrance committees.

The book goes on to discuss kinds of colleges including historically black colleges, the admissions process, and securing money to pay for school. Key advice is to choose a school that has the educational program the student is interested in and to fill out the application properly having all documentation ready. The earlier the application is turned in the sooner the student will hear back. So being proactive counts.

During this process, students should consider the financial demand of paying for college. College tuition is rising and stands between $9,000 and $30,000 at most schools. Parents and students have to access savings, federal aid and scholarship awards to afford the high cost of a college education. How to Prepare for College breaks down the types of aid and explains where students can go to apply for help.

Once you get to college, the entire point is staying in and earning the degree. The book addresses drop-out rates for freshmen who struggle and emphasizes studying as a key for the newly independent college student to survive two- or four-year colleges. Time management and balancing school and extracurricular activities seem to be essential for college students to survive in school and later in life.

Angelic Jones

I am a native Chicagoan with a love for my city. I was born on the South Side. I am most interested in health and living. I attended University of Phoenix for a Masters in Health Administration and a Masters...