High School Freshmen: How to Make the Most of Year One

The jump from middle school to high school is a big transition. As an incoming freshman, not only are you moving to a new school, there may be many new people to meet, and different types of courses and activities available.  This is the first year that your decisions in and out of school, including your academic transcript, actually “count” for college applications and can potentially influence your future.  Although you’re likely not yet starting to think about where you want to go to college, remember that the effort you put forth in and out of school from this point on will help to determine your options.  Here are a few suggestions to help you start your high school career on a strong note:

Extracurricular Activities

Consider what might interest you and join a few school clubs or teams.   If your school doesn’t have a club you want to join, follow your passion and start one!  By doing so, you’ll gain valuable organizational and leadership skills that can really help to set you apart down the road.  Whatever your interests, get involved!  If you’re thinking about pursuing a major or career in technology, perhaps you can join the robotics club; sports enthusiasts can demonstrate teamwork skills by participating on an after-school sports team, creative students can audition for a drama production, join an art club, write for the school newspaper, and/or play in their high school’s band or orchestra.  If you like to be in charge and/or enjoy making decisions, consider joining your school’s student government.  Activities such as these may help you to develop friendships with like-minded students, and facilitate your inclusion in the social group of your choice.  Progressing through the years in some of these clubs can also contribute to your development of the leadership skills that many colleges desire in students they admit.

Challenging Courses and Test Prep

Many colleges view the rigor of your high school curriculum as an important factor in their admissions decisions.  A somewhat lower grade in an honors course can count for just as much if not more than an “A” in a regular-level course.  Now is the time to start challenging yourself!   If you haven’t taken any advanced or honors classes, consider trying one now; keep it up if you’re already on a rigorous course track.  Most schools don’t offer AP or IB level courses to freshmen, but the honors courses can help set you up for success in them later on.  If you need academic tutoring for particularly challenging courses, contact us for help.  We can also help you with SAT and ACT preparation down the road.  But for now, the most important things you can do for yourself, are to develop good study habits, take challenging courses and get the best grades you can, and either figure out your academic and extra-curricular interests or continue to fine-tune and develop the interests you already have.

Make the most of your freshman year both socially and academically, and you’re sure to have a bright future.

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