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3 Key Things Your High School Freshman Needs to be Thinking about College

If you think it's too early to talk about the college process with your 9th grader, you're wrong. So much of what they will do in the next few years, inside and outside the classroom, will have a direct impact on where they will be admitted. Now is the time to prepare. I am getting more and more inquiry calls from parents of 8th and 9th graders wanting to know how we work with students and when we can start. Why? Because they know that the college admissions process is getting increasingly complex and they want to be ahead of the game. And rightfully so.

Applying to college is not easy. The more information a family has, the better decisions they will make. I recently had a family of a 9th grader visit Stanford. Mom thought the suggestion was “spot on” because it gave her 15 year old kid a reality check of what kinds of students Stanford admits. It also helps them -- as a NYC based family -- to determine if 3,000 miles is too far away.

If your child is in the 9th grade, here are a few tips that will lead to a successful high school experience and college admission process:

Select challenging courses.
It is imperative that students take courses that will appropriately “stretch” them. Getting good grades is paramount, but if your child takes easier courses than they can probably handle, colleges will know and not be impressed.

Encourage them to get involved with a variety of activities.
Do not allow your child to a “two-stop” (home and school) kind of kid. Colleges want students who will contribute to their college communities. The best way to show that is for them to contribute to their high school community.

Understanding the testing timeline.
This is throughout high school. Despite all the conversations about the validity of standardized tests, please know that it's not going anywhere. At least for the overwhelming majority of schools. As a 9th grader, your student may be qualified to take a SAT Subject Test. Ask your school counselor or ask us.

Click here to download a great checklist print and share with you freshman.
9th Grade College Planning Checklist

Information about the college process is critical. Gather it and share!

Was this helpful? Want to learn more? Let our expert advice help you and your child to manage, execute and WIN the college application process.

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