Inspire Your Tot’s College Goals: When I grow up, I want to be a…Nole, Gator, or Bull?

Let’s take a look at what it takes to raise a college-bound kid in today’s world: massive test prep, 24/7 extracurriculars, recommendation letters blessed by the Pope… 

Just kidding, parents. As the author of children’s books that inspire kids to attend college, I favor a more sentimental route. After all, the father peering into the crib at his Baby Gator does not extol the virtues of college as a means of gaining employment. He sings “We are the Boys.” And with that, the seed of college wonder is planted. 

Here are some tips to help it grow throughout childhood, beginning with the onesie stage: 

  • Teach your child a fight song immediately. Who needs “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” when you have “Yea, Alabama?” 
  • Integrate early lessons with elements from your favorite university. Color: Yes, Albert is green. Animals: Chief Osceola rides a horse. LSU loves tigers. Numbers: How many football players are out on the field? 
  • Read about your college together. Visit the college website and scan headlines. Even the sports page will do. Join your university kids’ club (most have them). 
  • Did you graduate from college? If so, show that diploma to your child. Talk about the classes you took in order to achieve it. Explain why it hangs in a place of honor.  
  • As your future college alumnus grows, notice which subjects he favors in school. Explain the different majors that can come from such interests. Whenever I speak to children during school visits for my books, I try to impress upon them that college is where you go to become who you want to be. Want to take math classes all day, kids? Love to write stories? Head to college. 
  • Visit your alma mater or your favorite university with your child, and don’t head straight to the football stadium. Take an hour or so to tour the campus, explaining classes you took here, the study time you had there. Share your true college tale, with you as the protagonist and the degree as the goal. 

Does your kid do the Gator chomp for strangers in FSU shirts? Is your little USF fan’s favorite movie “Ferdinand the Bull?” If so, you’re instilling a love for higher education. Now on to test prep and those Pope-blessed recommendations. 😉 

Check out Amy’s college bound books for little ones! You can purchase them for $14.95 at
College Bound Books for Kids




About the Author

Amy Hammond

Amy Hammond

Amy Hammond is a St. Petersburg-based author who believes all children should set their sights on college greatness. She is the author of “When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Gator,” “When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a ‘Nole,” “When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Bull,” “When I Grow Up, I’m Bama Bound” and “When I Grow Up, I’ll be a Tiger.” Her books can be purchased at and various retailers, including Marion’s in St. Petersburg and Heads and Tails in Tampa. To purchase signed copies or request a school visit, email her at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>