Should I Be Worried About College in Middle School?

Dear UnMazed-

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Should I be worried about college In middle school? Should I do Advanced Classes and how does it affect my high school into college years?

-Nathan, SW Florida

Dear Nathan,

Great questions. Academic planning does need to be addressed early on in your high school career, even as early as middle school. While college is a priority, the earlier you start your academic path,  the better. I have worked with too many parents and students who simply did not about certain programs that could have been a fit for them to advance in their academic/ career pathway while still in school- which could results in thousands of dollars saved in free college tuition or industry certifications.

Middle School- Why?

1. Some high school programs require a certain grade point average or test scores on the EOCs to enter. Several, like specialized IB or AICE programs might even ask for letters of recommendation. If you haven't take on some academic challenges in middle school, it might disqualify you from some of these advanced programs to begin with.

2. More middle schools students are coming out of middle school with high school credits. I recently worked with a student with 6 high school credits her freshman year. With a 2.6 GPA, it was not setting her up for some rigorous programs and college admissions. Those high school credits, even if taken in 7th and 8th grade, go on your high school transcript and will affect your gpa that colleges look at for admissions. So while you should take on advanced courses, there has to be a commitment to do well in all of them.


1. Learn early what types of acceleration or specialized programs each high school offers. If you live in SW Florida, and specifically Lee County- school choice can be beneficial in that you can select high schools that fit your academic strengths to meet your college goals. Do your homework here (parents too!), and go to multiple open houses, tour the schools, and ask good questions. As a reminder- many times people change their mind. Just because you choose one high school/ program doesn't mean you can't change later on. Do what is best for you.

2. Visit with your school counselor frequently. Rules change- a lot. So keep connected with your counselor as they can offer some great ideas and help guide you along the way. 

3. Use College UnMazed and other resources to help give you good information. Workbooks, like College UnMazed: Your Guide Through the Florida College & University System, and websites like CollegeBoard Big Futures and Florida Career Shines can help answer some of your questions.

UnMazed has some great articles that help answer more of your questions.


Dr. Amanda Sterk

UnMazed Senior Editor 

CEO of Florida Center for Educational Planning