Freshman year of high school can be a very stressful time. Often students are nervous about starting a new school, taking harder classes, and the overwhelming number of new activities they can participate in.
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. Here is how to you can really make ninth grade count!
Found a club, sport, or organization you’re interested in? Try it!
It is so important that you try new activities in ninth grade for many reasons. First, the more exposure you have to new activities, the sooner you’ll be able to find your true passion and really focus in on it. Second, trying new things means you’re curious and eager to grow, a trait that colleges love to see in students. Third, it helps with the stress of fitting in! Whether it's drama club or robotics competitions, chances are you’ll find people with similar interests. It’s like a ready-made group of friends!
Start forming good study habits as soon as possible so they stick with you
Every year of schooling gets harder and requires more effort, especially once you enter college. Make sure you do your homework on time, don’t slack on your reading (it will show in class participation), and give yourself more than just one day of study before a test. Freshman year will arguably be the easiest grade to get good grades, so take advantage of it! Prestigious universities will expect you to have good grades throughout high school so it’s important to start with a strong high school GPA from the get go so you aren't struggling in the latter years trying to make up for the first.
Keep track of all your accomplishments and activities so you don’t forget important details
Four years is a long time, especially when you’re a teenager. By the time senior year rolls around you may not remember all the clubs you were a member of in freshman year or the topic of a debate you won 3 years ago. Start documenting all of your achievements including voluntary activities, clubs, and competitions, and include a few bullet points about what you did and how the experience helped you grow. Whether it’s structured, like a resume, or just written down in a notebook, you’ll be grateful you have recorded them when you start applying to colleges and drafting your application essays.
Ask people for help, advice, guidance, and everything in between
As you get older adults will tell you, “no one is going to hold your hand anymore”, and that’s true. But that doesn't mean you have to go through your educational journey alone and without the help of others. For example don't be afraid to ask your teachers to further explain a difficult topic; ask older students what they did to prepare for the SAT; or ask the president of your favorite club how they got that leadership position. The more opinions and experiences you can draw from, the more you’ll grow as a person. Always remember you’re not alone in this journey!