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When should you have the college talk with your children?

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Aug. 20, 2015) - Many college students across the state, including at Indiana and Purdue universities, have moved onto campus this week. Obviously college is top of mind for them, but is it for your child who is not quite at that age yet?

"You have to be thinking about college and academic preparation as early as possible," said Dennis Bland, president of the Center for Leadership Development.

Bland says it's great to start having the conversation as early as elementary school.

"Third and fourth grades are actually excellent opportunities because this is when we begin to think about life and career formation and what I see myself doing," said Bland. "So it’s a great opportunity just to begin to introduce them to college and just have conversation about it as an aspirational goal, so that by the time they get older they have an opportunity to actually begin making sense of how life relates to the college experience."

"If students have not been talking about it and thinking about it seriously by the time they’re in 7th, 8th and 9th grade, it’s not that it’s too late, but they’re certainly behind."

The Center for Leadership Development is hosting a College Prep Conference & College Fair Thursday for more than 1,000 students and their parents.

They will learn about getting ready for college, how to create a standout application, how to get scholarships and financial aid, and what role the parents play in the admissions process.

The 7th annual event is not accepting walk-ins, but it's not too late to get help.

The center offers college prep resources and counseling six days a week to students and parents. Click here for more information.

"There is so much conversation about the needs to help prepare African American minority youth for academic college and career success," said Bland. "The Center for Leadership Development for 38 years has really been focused on trying to provide answers and solutions to that societal challenge and problem."

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