I haven’t written any high school/college prep posts in a while, but they’ve been generating a lot of traffic recently and with school starting again in a month, it seems like a good time to bring them back. For the next four Mondays, I’ll be publishing a “how to prepare for college” post for each year of high school. Since it’s the first week of the series, let’s start with what you can do as a Freshman. Assuming you’re about to be a Freshman in High School, right now, you’ll probably like my post “How To Prepare For Your Freshman Year Of High School.” With that said, let’s get into this.
- Other Posts In This Series
- How To Prepare For College In Your Freshman Year Of High School
- How To Prepare For College In Your Sophomore Year Of High School
- How To Prepare For College In Your Junior Year Of High School
- How To Prepare For College In Your Senior Year Of High School
//Make A Course Plan For The Next Four Years
Before you even start high school, you should know all the requirements to graduate. It differs from school to school, but most colleges have the same requirements
Meet College Requirements
- 4 Years Of English
- 3 Years Of Social Studies
- 3 Years Of Mathematics
- 3 Years Of Science
- 2 Years Of Foreign Language (Though 4 years is preferred, nowadays)
Even if you meet the college requirements, you still need to follow you’re high school’s protocol. Some high schools have more requirements than others. I went to one of the hardest high schools in the U.S. so we needed a lot more credits to graduate. Here’s a list of my old high school’s requirements below.
Meet Your High School’s Requirements
- 4 Years Of English
- 3 Years Of Social Studies (World History, U.S History, Econ)
- 4 Math Credits (1 Has To Be Calculus)
- 5 Science Credits (Chemistry (9th), Physics (9th), AP Bio (10th), 2 Sciences Of Our Choice (11th, 12th)
- 2 Foreign Language Credits (Same Language)
- 2 Engineering Credits (Beginners and Engineering Applications)
Make sure you know everything you have to do to graduate. Look up or create your four-year course plan early on so you know what you’re doing.
//Join A Club You’ll Want To Stay In For The Next Four Years
Don’t just sign up for a lot of random things and not attend. Make sure to join clubs you’ll stay in for the next four years and could have opportunities to be in leadership positions. Quality over quantity. Colleges like looking at students who are committed and are in leadership positions. Not ones who are joining four different clubs every year.
//Start Looking For Volunteer Opportunities
Community service looks great on college applications. They’re also a useful way to spend your time. I volunteered at my local library all four years and I really enjoyed it. I also volunteered at a non-profit for special needs kids which is how I got an internship there Junior year. Doing things like that gave me a reason to get out of the house and do something fun. I graduated with almost 500 community service hours. That’s really high for high school students. You only need 200 to get a seal on your diploma.
Related – 10 Reasons To Volunteer In High School –
//Keep Your Grades Up And Get Help When You Need It
I know the transition from middle school to high school (or middle school to college for me) can be a tough one, but you need to get a good start with your grades. Do your homework. Pay attention in class. Attend study sessions. Do everything you can to have a high GPA from the get go. It’s better than working the next three years trying to make up for your first semester.
//Get Health And P.E. Out Of The Way In Your First Year
Or during the summer. Don’t save it till senior year. You’ll be one of the only seniors in the class. I got health and P.E. over with in my freshman year and I was thankful for that. For one, it was an easy A. For another, I never had to worry about it again. I never had to stress about adding it to my schedule in future years because I already had the required credit.
//Start Thinking About What You Want To Do After High School
This is around the time where people want a somewhat serious answer. I personally think it’s too early, but you have to think about this. A good chunk of the decisions you have to make in high school are based on what you want to do when you grow up. You don’t have to know by Freshman year, but start thinking about it because it’ll impact what you say to colleges.
For example, I knew I wanted to work with special needs kids, so I was a part of Sign Language Club for 4 years, interned at Emory Autism Center, took classes like Advanced Genetics, and volunteered at a lot of organizations. Doing things like that gave me interesting things to write in my college essay. It also showed colleges that I was serious in terms of what I wanted to do and major in.
That’s just one example. A lot of people at my school wanted to be engineers, so they were on the Robotics Team and took a lot of engineering classes. There were people who were going to art school and started their portfolios really early on. I don’t want to scare you, but America’s education system values those who know what they’re going to do.
You can afford to say, “I don’t know,” right now, but you won’t have long.
Movies make high school seem like the worst time of your life, but I loved high school. Make friends! Join fun clubs! Go to school dances! Don’t spend the next four years wallowing in misery. Freshman year is the easiest time to make new friends because it’s a new start. Don’t waste it.
As we go through this post series, the lists will get longer and longer. That should be a given because as you get closer to college, the more you’ll have to do to prepare. What you do Freshman year lays the foundation for everything you’ll need for your college application, so it’s a good thing you’re here because starting early is the best thing you can do.
//Photos Of Me As A Freshman
Did I miss anything? What did you do in Freshman year of high school that prepared you for college?