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Parent-Teacher Conferences and College Scholarships
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*This is a re-blog of my post written a few years ago, with an update at the end*
I spent 90 minutes last night waiting in line at my 7th grader’s middle school for parent-teacher conferences. Later on in the evening, I was chatting with a few friends and we were complaining (guilty!) about having to wait so long (I waited in one teacher’s line for 30 minutes) to discuss my son’s progress in school. One person said that she never understood parents who go to conferences when their students are getting good grades.
That opinion was an eye-opener for me.
I have always gone to my kids’ parent-teacher conferences, no matter how they are doing in school.
Why wouldn’t I take advantage of an opportunity to connect with the people my son spends most of his day with?
When my kids are doing well, it feels great to have teachers let me know how happy they are with their progress and when they are struggling, we come up with a plan together to help them improve.
Having a good relationship with teachers not only helps parents, but it helps students as they prepare for future college and scholarship applications.
The teacher that recommended my son to be Student of the Week last spring would most likely be a great candidate for a scholarship letter of recommendation.
A teacher who praises a student for his or her excellent writing skills would be great for proof-reading scholarship and college entrance essays.
In my son’s case, I talked to the teacher who is in charge of the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) and told her I was impressed that he remembered to give her his application materials without having me remind him. She just might be thinking now that he is a little more responsible than the average 7th grader and would make a great NJHS candidate as they make the selections in the next few weeks. Being a member of the NJHS is a great way for students to get involved in their school and community and usually leads to membership in the National Honor Society (NHS) in high school, which is a nice accomplishment to add to a scholarship or activity resume.
Be sure to read: How Students Can Volunteer Their Way Into College Scholarship Money
Attending parent-teacher conferences from the time students are in elementary school all the way through high school shows students that their parents care about their progress in school and want them to succeed.
Encouraging good grades from an early age is another way to help students value their education and fuels the desire to do well in school and attend college. Parents with young children are usually not thinking about college and scholarships, but laying the groundwork for what scholarship judges and college admissions officers look for in a student is extremely valuable and can pay off big-time in the long run.
I found out last night that my son is a hard worker, quiet, and very “sweet”. What parent doesn’t want to hear that? Being a parent is a thankless job and sometimes we need to hear from others about how our kids are doing in school to reaffirm our commitment to them to be the best parent we can possibly be. Waiting in line for so long was frustrating, but as the parent of two kids who have graduated from high school and are now on their own, I know how quickly these next few years will fly by, and pretty soon I won’t have any kids left at home.
90 minutes of my time is nothing if it helps my son succeed by doing well in school, getting into college, and winning college scholarships.
Do you attend your student’s parent-teacher conferences? Why or why not?
I’d love to continue this discussion in the comments section below.
2015 Update: Because of a prior commitment, I was unable to attend the first parent-teacher conferences of the year for my son, now a freshman in high school. Instead, a week before conferences, I emailed each of his teachers and asked if they had any concerns or thoughts about his progress in school so far this year. All of his teachers responded and I received wonderful comments that we can use in future scholarship applications or to remind the teachers of their own words when we ask for letters of recommendation.
An example is, “Nick is an absolute joy to have in class. He’s been performing really well on homework and assessments – as you can see by his excellent grade. I honestly couldn’t think of a single concern if I tried. We did a group station activity today and he did a really nice job of facilitating his group and working with them. He’s a great student – and kid in general!” (Thank you, Mrs. F!)
How will I use these words to help him win college scholarships? When my son is applying for a scholarship focusing on leadership, he can ask this teacher for a letter of recommendation, remind her about the words that she said about him, and suggest that her “group facilitator” comment be included in the letter. All of the emails are saved into a folder on my computer labeled with my son’s name and easily accessed when needed. THAT is how you win college scholarships!
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RELATED: How to Get a Great Letter of RecommendationParent-Teacher Conferences Can Help Win College Scholarships Click To Tweet
Monica Matthews is the author of How to Win College Scholarships. She helped her own son win over $100,000 in college scholarships and now shares her expertise with other parents and their students. She truly has “been there, done that” in regards to helping parents and students navigate the scholarship process.
Her method of helping students in finding college scholarships, writing unique and compelling scholarship essays, creating amazing scholarship application packets and more, have taught desperate parents to help their own students win thousands of scholarship dollars.
Monica’s scholarship tips have been featured on many prominent websites and she has been dubbed the “Go-To” expert on college scholarships.