5 (Easy) Ways to Prepare for College as a Ninth Grader

You are just about to start high school. You have managed to get your new student ID, figured out where your locker is and where your first period is…you think. The thought of Senior year and applying to colleges isn’t at the forefront of your journey. What if you had easy, practical tips that not only helped you tackle your first year of high school, but just so happened to help you prep and be competitive for college admission? Why not!


Source: http://clipartix.com/college-clipart-image-23989/


Create a solid academic foundation

You’ll continue to learn more about meeting and exceeding requirements for four-year colleges through your counselors and school college center events, but for now let’s keep it simple. Creating a solid academic foundation will help you not only meet the requirements (earning a C or higher in your core academic courses and electives such as Foreign Language and Visual Performing Arts) but EXCEED and show strength in your coursework. In order to stay successful and continue on into the higher levels, you’ll need to build a strong academic foundation. This includes staying on top of assignments, asking for help and clarification when needed, using resources like peer-tutoring and academic support to ensure that you are confident in your classes before moving on to the next. Know where the resources are on campus and utilize them!

Build and implement study strategies that work for you

We all study and learn differently. Start paying attention to what works best for you. When was the last time you had a hard class or learned a tough concept and did it successfully? Did you create flashcards? Review with the teacher during office hours? Re-write your notes or work through sample problems? Study smarter not harder!

Stay organized

One of the easiest things you can do at the beginning of every semester is write out your assignments for the whole semester in a calendar. This can be on your Iphone with reminders and alerts or on a written calendar. But knowing what is coming up in the week and ultimately in the long run, you will already feel better prepared. Keep track of upcoming assignments and write in when you have time for studying in between activities and friends.

Explore interests and activities

You can join a club at ANY time, not just on Club Day or at the beginning of the school year. You can find an entire list of clubs with descriptions and a person to contact on the ASB tab of the home page at our BHHS.BHUSD.ORG website (or if you’re not a BHHS student, ask your counselor and look at your high school’s website). Try new sports, join a club, keep a written journal of your activities, this can be something as informal as you like to create your own YouTube videos or you’re on the Soccer team. Just keep track and start to pay attention to what you enjoy and where your strengths are.

*Bonus: Create a “student resume” this can be as simple as an excel spreadsheet with the title of your activity, how many hours you have spent and a description of your role/impact within the activity. This can help you later when you’re looking to apply for a job, internship, scholarship or college!

Balance and self-care

Remember, you have four years ahead of you. And throughout this time you will be challenged, have set-backs and learn new things every single day. It is so important to give yourself time to take a step back, breathe and reflect a little. Squeeze in some self-care when you can, even if this means a 2 minute walk around the block or a 10-minute Ipod listening session in your room. There is nothing that can replace eating well, getting some sleep and taking breaks. Remember to do this always!

Published by Casey Barneson

Author of The College Wellness Guide. Beverly Hills High School College Counselor.

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