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  • Writer's pictureHarpal Kochar

Freshmen year could decide where you ultimately land up...

During ninth grade it's important adjust to the new work load and learn how to deal with the social stress that often accompanies high school, but it's also important to remember that you're now in the “college prep” years. The activities you join and grades you earn will be a part of your college application.


  • Take challenging courses in high school (e.g., honors, Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), HS/college dual enrollment), focusing on the core academics: English, math, science, history, and world languages. Rigorous courses that go beyond the minimum graduation requirements will make you a more impressive applicant and can even earn you college credit while in high school!

  • Your high school transcript is considered one of the most important parts of your college application, and good grades will distinguish you from many other applicants.

  • Freshman year is a great time to try several different extracurricular activities to see which ones are most interesting to you. Once you decide what you like, dedicate more time to fewer activities in order to become deeply involved.

  • Summer is a great time to earn extra money for college while exploring different career fields.

  • Getting to know your guidance counselor early in your high school career makes it easier to talk about your plans for high school, college, and career.

  • Start discussing ASAP, both in terms of why you want to go to college and how you're going to pay for it. That way, you and your family will be comfortable with the topic when it's crunch time in 11th and 12th grade.

  • Even if you can only put aside a few dollars each month, every little bit helps, and creating a college savings account makes the idea of going on to higher education much more real.

  • Though most scholarships are available only for seniors applying to college, there are some scholarships available regardless of where you are in your high school career.

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