• There is a teacher at my son’s school who has her work tables sectioned off by university names. Some are named for Ivy League schools and some are named after state schools. Various calibers of schools are fairly represented. I had to catch myself, because my first reaction wasn’t good. I thought she was dividing the class based on how smart each child was with a superior, average and an intellectually challenged table. All of which, of course, did not sit well with me.

    I wasn’t sure why she did this or what her motivation was until I read a study that shed some light on the value of this kind of exposure. A study by researchers from UCLA and the American Academy of Pediatrics which examined data on 6,600 children in the “Early Childhood Longitudinal Birth Cohort Study,” a national study of children born in 2001. The results recognized the value of parents’ expectations affecting their children’s actual attendance of college. In addition to nurturing educational activities, like daily reading to their children, parental attitudes that focused on a path that will lead their child to college, are important indicators as to whether their children attended college.

    Simply put, whether or not you expect your children to attend college is a key factor in your child’s success. Sometimes we say things under our breath (i.e., putting down our children’s grasp of a topic or boasting about another child’s scholastic accomplishments), which we think our children don’t hear. Well, they do! Or at the very least, they pick up on our vibes about their prospect of attending college. Everyone deserves to pursue a higher education and only their abilities should determine their limits. Expectation, without pressure, plays a bigger role than previously thought. If you believe they can achieve it, then so will they. I guess those university t-shirts we buy for our children might be more valuable than we think!