How to Raise Kids for Ivy League Colleges

by Ann Daniels

    Preparing your child for a college education -- especially an Ivy League education -- means giving him the tools necessary to succeed. Although children with privileged backgrounds have stronger advantages over children with less means, there are still a wide variety of opportunities for all parents -- regardless of their socioeconomic status -- to help prepare their children for the most elite universities. Get active in your child’s life, activities and education to encourage his academic success and improve his chance of being accepted to an Ivy League university.

    Step 1

    Read to your child every day starting from the day he is born. Try reading to your him for at least 20 minutes each day. Visit local libraries to pick out new books regularly. KidsHealth.org suggests that reading to infants has a wide variety of benefits such as encouraging memory and listening abilities and it teaches communication skills and vocabulary.

    Step 2

    Start a college savings fund. An Ivy League education can be expensive. In addition to savings accounts, consider a wide variety of investment opportunities that meets your family's needs. Explore savings fund with tax-free benefits such as a 529 plan.

    Step 3

    Expose your child to new situations and a wide variety of experiences. Take your kid to the zoo, supermarket or even to another state to visit friends or relatives. Talk about the things you see and let your child explore new surroundings so she can appreciate the diversity in the world. Even if you can’t afford an exotic vacation, your child can still learn about different places around the world. Randomly choose a location on the globe. Use the Internet to look up pictures of that place and learn about the culture.

    Step 4

    Spend time with your child in the evenings and on weekends. Use this time to help your child with homework, make dinner together or take her to an after-school activity. Do puzzles together or play board games in lieu of watching television or playing video games.

    Step 5

    Get involved in your child’s school. Attend parent-teacher conferences to discuss any academic challenges your child might be facing. If your child is having difficulties in a particular subject, talk to the teacher about any tutoring, extra credit or other educational resources that are available.

    Step 6

    Find kid-friendly volunteer opportunities while your child is young and encourage your child to continue volunteering as he gets older. Try volunteering at a local animal shelter or a homeless shelter. Older children can tutor underprivileged children through organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of America. Volunteering expands your child’s horizons and also improves college applications.

    Step 7

    Enroll your child in activities such as sports or clubs through your community or child’s school. Find activities that interest your child, such as the debate team, a foreign language club, soccer, playing an instrument or dance. These activities provide opportunities for your child to learn new skills, socialize with other children and expand her education. When your child discovers a particular interest, focus on this activity. Chuck Hughes, author of "What It Really Takes to Get into the Ivy League," suggests in a CNN Money article that colleges seek out students who do one or two things exceptionally well - rather than dabbling in a wide variety of activities.

    Step 8

    Help your child research, apply for and secure an internship in her chosen field of study. Internships help develop resumes to show leadership qualities and real world experience. Hughes suggests that resumes and letters of recommendation from a successful internship are very important when apply to Ivy League schools.

    Step 9

    Prepare for ACT and SAT exams early because these standardized tests affect your child’s college acceptance. Get copies of standardized tests and have your child take a practice test once a month starting in middle school. Sample tests are available for free at public libraries. Review your child’s answers to the tests to help them study for the real test.

    About the Author

    Ann Daniels has been a professional writer for more than 10 years. Her work has been published in many national health and wellness publications. Daniels holds a Master of Arts in communications from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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