If you walk up to most 9th graders early in their freshman year and ask them about their college preparation plans, you are likely to get a blank stare. Teenagers have so many things on their mind at that age, and college usually isn’t one of them. This is perfectly natural, of course, but this is why these kids need guidance to start planning for their future.
Parents and the high school guidance counselor can help students design a preliminary four year academic plan to make sure they are on the right track for college. For instance, if you plan on taking AP courses in hopes of earning college credit in high school, you must be on the right track academically so you’ll have all the required pre-requisites out of the way.
Grades are very important in maintaining a college acceptable GPA, and your GPA plays a big part in applying for certain scholarships as well. Don’t assume that only your senior year GPA is all that matters. Being serious about your grades indicates a maturity level of someone who is college material.
How you accept the academic challenges of high school reflects how you will deal with even more difficult challenges in college. Teachers expect high school students to act responsibly and aren’t as quick to remind students when reports, papers, and homework are due.
By applying yourself to doing more than the minimum required, you build study skills that will help you succeed in college. If there is a particular concept in a class that you don’t fully grasp, work extra problems to help in clarification. If the difficulty continues, ask for assistance from the teacher or a tutor before the problem gets worse.
Be sure to join clubs that interest you and participate in club meetings and activities. Colleges look favorably on college applicants with good grades and a history of club participation.
Beginning your college preparation in your high school freshman year is important, but don’t forget to enjoy your high school years as well because they go by in a hurry. After graduation, all your friends will scatter to the four winds, so enjoy your times together while you can including sports activities, fund raisers, dances, proms, and so forth.