Prepare early

Parents should begin preparations for their child to undertake tertiary level studies long before they sit Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) or Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) examinations.

Managing Director of The Student Centre, Sheena Alleyne, suggests these preparations should commence when the child is in second or third form at secondary school. She was at the time speaking on the sidelines of the Canada Education Fair, which was held at the Hilton Barbados Resort recently.

“One of the main tips I would say to parents is that college prep actually starts when you start to choose subjects for CSEC. So this means that from the time you start to add or drop subjects, you are in preparation for college, not at the end of CSEC or at the end or at the beginning of CAPE, it starts way before then.”

She added, “You need to get planning not just academically, but financially, because a major part is [that] education is not for free. It is an investment, therefore you should start planning for it as though it is. So set aside funds for your child because they might not always want to go to their immediate local option. They might want to go outside and that will definitely have a cost to it.”

The College and University Advisor also stated it is important for parents to get to know their child and understand what subjects he or she is studying in addition to knowing their interests and their strengths. She stated that this is all part of the preparation.

“College prep involves finding a school, yeah, but it is trying to figure out how your child learns, what areas they might be good at [and] what is the best environment for them to perform at their optimum. There is a lot that goes into it because you want the best for your children.”

She continued, “You want them to always have better than what you had so that can’t happen in a minute when they are in sixth form and ‘oh, it’s time to go’, that takes time. So getting them centred is a family-oriented process and everybody needs to be involved. Including their teachers, their parents, anybody who is a part of that child’s life, it entails everybody. It takes a village to raise them and it takes a village to get them to college or university.”

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