Start Your Freshman Year Off Strong!

With hard work and perseverance, you can accomplish anything!

Take Challenging Classes

Do not settle for easy classes. Colleges look at your grades and the level of your classes starting in 9th grade.

If you have good grades in middle school in particular subjects, talk to your school counselor about taking an advanced track in those subjects in high school. Be your own advocate.

You got this!

Have a 4 Year High School Plan

Map out the classes you will take from 9th - 12th grades. Ask your counselor about Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or Honors courses in your areas of interest and strength.

Go for that advanced math track, reach for those honors foreign language classes. AP classes are intro-level college classes taught in your high school by your high school teachers. Strong performance in these classes demonstrate your academic abilities and college readiness. A high score on the exams in May can earn you college credit!

Go to Class, Participate, Get Good Grades

The better you do, the more selective colleges you can consider and the more financial aid you may receive. Attending every class and working hard now will pay off later!

Plus, it feels good when you get good grades. Be proud of what you know!

Don't forget to ask for help when you don't understand something. Don't wait. Find a classmate doing well in your class or ask your teacher. That is what they are there for.

January of Freshman Year

Set up some time with your school counselor to talk about 10th grade.

Update your 4 year high school academic plan.

Remember to challenge yourself.


Be Organized!  Use a binder with sections or a different colored spiral notebook for each class. Have separate folders on your computer that make your assignments easy to find.  Create a system that works for you.

Use Your Time Wisely!  Take advantage of study halls to get homework done early. Set a time for homework after school. Don’t get distracted.

Create Strong Study Habits!  Develop a system that works for you, like reviewing and rewriting your notes before a test.

Get Involved at Your High School and in Your Community!

High School Girls Soccer Team

You are not the only one who is a little nervous about starting high school.   Join a sports team, a club, a music group.  The more people you get to know, the more comfortable you will be and the more fun you will have.  Take that first step!

Do more of what you love!  Do you like to build things?  Join a robotics team.  Do you love to read?  Ask your teacher for book recommendations to read independently.  Selective colleges admit students who go above and beyond the minimum school requirements to pursue their interests.

Make Your Summer Plans!

In February, it’s time to start thinking about what you want to do this summer.  Of course you want to spend time with friends and take a little break after school, but it’s also the perfect time to take advantage of fun growth opportunities:

  • Go to summer camp and be active outdoors.
  • Attend an academic or enrichment program to learn more about things that interest you.
  • Get a job to save money and help your family. That takes maturity and independence.
  • If you have to take care of younger siblings all summer, that means more than you think. It may not be what you want to do, but you will be learning leadership skills and how to be responsible for others.
Student working a summer job

Do you have questions about what classes you should take in high school or what to do over the summer?

Yale University