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Getting Your Child Ready for College

First, your child will need to study hard and take the courses in middle school and high school that will help him or her succeed in college-level courses. Second, it is important for you and your child to try to put money aside for college and be well informed about sources of financial aid for college.

In addition to helping your child focus on doing well in school, encourage your child to begin thinking about careers. Also help your child research areas of interest to get more information on what those careers mean and the specific jobs available in each field. One good resource for researching the job outlook is the Occupational Outlook Handbook by the U.S. Department of Labor and Workforce Oklahoma Occupational Outlook website. By encouraging your child to think ahead, you can help your child choose middle school and high school courses that may influence his or her future career path.

OK EPAS, Oklahoma’s Educational Planning and Assessment System, provides students an opportunity to evaluate their college preparation while in middle and high school.¬†EXPLORE, given in the eighth grade, and PLAN, given in the 10th grade, evaluate college readiness skills in English, math, reading and science.¬† Students can use information provided by these assessments to plan course work, improve academic skills and investigate career interests.

Summer Academies are free opportunities for eighth- through 12th-grade Oklahoma students to visit college campuses across the state. Whether students choose a residential or commuter Summer Academy, they will experience a snapshot of life on a college campus while investigating hands-on experiences in science, mathematics and technology.

In addition to academics, start looking at your financial situation and how much your family will be able to contribute to your child's education. Look into college savings plans, such as the Oklahoma College Savings Plan, which offers an Oklahoma income tax deduction of up to $2,500 per account.

Also, start researching grants and scholarships that may require that your child apply while still in middle school. For more information, click on the Financial Aid link on the left.