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15 Fun Ways to Motivate Students About College

Do you talk to your class about their future?
 I think most teachers do. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a very common question. What do younger kids say? A cowboy. A princess. A Superhero, of course. But soon enough, kids move from cowboy and princess to “I want to be a lawyer” or “I want to be a doctor.”

Motivate your elementary students to start thinking about college. Encourage them to see their dreams as a possibility with a college education!


How can you help your students make it a reality?
Start by having them think about their future. Let your students know that when they are in your class, you are not only preparing them for being successful this year or next year but you're helping them be successful for the rest of their lives.  Infuse them with the idea, that everything they do now can be a step to achieving a higher goal – attending and graduating from a university!
One of the reasons that I am a big advocate for talking to students about going to college and getting them to start thinking about it now, is that they might not hear it anywhere else from anyone else. This isn't to rag on parents. The truth is, that the area I work in, most parents did not attend college and don't know how to help their children.
If they can't, then we must!
Help your students, NOW, to start thinking about college. Waiting until junior year, even freshman year is too late. The dream needs to start NOW!  It's never to early to help your students think about how to achieve their dreams.
How can you do this? I have listed some easy and fun ideas that you can try this year!
  1. Talk about going to college/university
  2. Talk to them about your university
  3. Share with them pictures of your graduation day
  4. Were you in a club, sorority, fraternity, etc.? Tell them about it.
  5. Talk to them about universities in your state
  6. Name each table group by a university throughout the country
  7. Place flags on a map to show were universities are located
  8. Invite friends that have different careers come in and talk to your class about their job (and the university they attended)
  9. Have universities mail you banners, stickers, pendents to your class. Many will send stuff for free when asked.
  10. Create a timeline to find the year they'll enter college
  11. Have a college shirt day (My old school did it every Wednesday.)
  12. Have every class in the school represent a college
  13. Cheer on different universities when their sport teams are playing football, basketball etc.
  14. College Night: Invite parents and students to come listen to different college students share about their experience at school.
  15. Take a picture of students wearing a cap and gown and holding a sign. Possible phrases could be: I want to be a _____. I want to attend ____ University! I will graduation in 2025.  I will go to college in 2025. etc.
One fun activity that I like to do with students, is to figure out the year they will graduate from high school and enter college.  All you need is a long piece of butcher paper. Create a time line on it; starting with the grade they are in at the bottom of the time line and the year at the top of the timeline. Keep adding hashmarks for each grade level until you reach grade 12 (senior year.) Then go back and fill in the years for each grade level. Explain to the class that the year above grade 12 is their graduation year! It’s the year they will go on to college! Once we figure out their graduation year, I often will call them by their graduating year, for example class of 2025.
I really do believe that helping our students envision themselves attending and graduating from college will help get them there! While I know it's a long road to get there… the road starts now!



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