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College & Career Planning

Preparing your Child for College and Careers 

Now is the right time to start thinking about your child's college and career future. Regardless of what grade your child is in, you can help them begin preparing for their future today. 

Families of Elementary and Middle School Students 

  • Encourage your child to read every day for at least 30 minutes. Reading will help them do well in every subject.
  • Review our Elementary Curriculum Guides for age appropriate recommended reading lists to help build literacy.
  • Talk to your child about how important it is for them to go to school every day. Attendance is a strong indicator of your child’s academic success.
  • Help your child develop good habits, such as being punctual, organized and working well with others. Tracking daily and weekly homework assignments is a great way to build time management organization skills. These are all habits that students will need to be successful in college and in their career.
  • Help your child explore their interests. Encourage them to join clubs or programs at their school and in their local community, and ask them about their favorite subjects, hobbies, and activities.
  • Encourage your child, regardless of how they are doing in school, to seriously consider going to college. While not every student needs to go to college to succeed, all students, including those with disabilities or multilingual learners, can go to college if they choose to.
  • Talk to your child about the importance of middle school grades, and New York State exams.
  • Attend parent-teacher conferences and school activities. Talk with teachers about how your child is doing in school and monitor your child’s progress. 

Families of High School Students 

Continue doing the activities mentioned above, and: 

  • Talk to your child about getting good grades in high school and make sure your child is on track to graduate high school. Your child needs to get a high school diploma or get a GED/HSE to apply to college.
  • Talk to your child's Guidance Counselor about graduation requirements and check in each year on your child's progress.
  • Visit the High School Course guide to learn more about credits and state exams that your child needs to graduate from high school.
  • Encourage your child to take challenging classes and do well in those classes.
  • Visit at least two colleges with your child every year and attend college fairs. Take a list of questions with you and listen to what your child thinks about each college.
  • Help your child prepare for the SAT Exam.  Some colleges also require students to take a college entrance test called the ACT Exam.
  • Meet with your child’s school counselor and teachers, ask them to share information on colleges that match your child’s interests, paying for college, and how to begin planning for your child’s future as a team.
  • You can also use The College Board's Family Action Plan for high school students and/or the First in the Family website to plan for your child’s high school years.

Families of Students with Disabilities

For students who plan to continue their education beyond high school, it’s important to learn as much as you can about disability services at your institution of higher education of choice as each institution of higher education offers different types of support. Most institution of higher education campuses have some version of an Office of Disability Services, which coordinates the provision of reasonable accommodations and support services for students with disabilities. A student’s need for reasonable accommodation and/or support services is verified by these offices. Some examples of supports that may be provided include:

  • Assistive Technology
  • Note-takers
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Considerations for absences and extensions when at the student’s disability temporarily makes it difficult to attend class or complete assignments

In many cases, students enrolled in classes may be eligible for support, including:

  • Dual enrollment programs
  • Certificate programs
  • Associate, baccalaureate and graduate degree programs

In all cases, participation is voluntary and initiated by the student. Some students may not want or need to request assistance in meeting their needs on campus. Students may not need accommodations for every class or every semester for which they enroll. Decisions regarding specific accommodations are made by campus staff on a case-by-case basis based on documentation provided. Please note:

  • Every institution of higher education operates differently, and disability offices at different institutions may have different names and documentation requirements
  • If a student is found eligible, the disability office will develop an accommodation plan based on the documentation provided by the student
  • Unlike in grades K-12, colleges or universities are not required to provide modifications to the content that students are required to learn
  • Schools must support transition planning for all with IEPs. For students considering higher education, IEP teams must:
  • As early as the student’s first year of high school, advise students and families on the difference between accommodations in K-12 vs. higher education
  • Ensure that students who plan to continue their education beyond high school understand the process to obtain disability support from their institution of higher education of choice, if needed
  • Support students in locating the disability office at the institution of higher education of their choice