Get to know your school counselor. Schedule a meeting just to introduce yourself, even if you don’t need any help at the time. For some schools, counselors are required to write college recommendations (in addition to teachers), so make sure he/she gets to know you over the next four years.
Consider where you want to be as a senior and map out a four-year curriculum to get there. Do you want to take AP classes in junior and senior year? What prerequisites do you need in 9th and 10th grade to be ready for advanced classes?
Get involved in clubs or outside activities that let you pursue your interests. If you want to start something new, now is the time to try –Colleges want to see passion and commitment. If there is something that really excites you, explore it. Don’t wait till junior year to get started.
Keep track of your accomplishments. Start developing a file and write down a summary of your activities, jobs, and experiences to use in creating a resume and also for generating ideas for college essays.
Buckle down and work hard in classes. Grades in 9th grade count equally towards your overall GPA and in the eyes of college admissions.
Consider taking SAT subject tests starting in 9th grade. SAT subject tests are best taken at the end of the school year in which that subject is learned. If biology is studied in 9th grade, consider taking the biology SAT subject test in June of 9th grade. Ask your teachers how your subject curriculum compares to the SAT subject test. Sometimes schools do not cover all the same topics. If that is the case, consider studying on your own and/or asking for some tutoring to close the gap. · Don’t waste your summers. You don’t have to do anything fancy, but use the time wisely. Are you entrepreneurial? Start a small business…even if it’s just mowing lawns having a job, even at a local ice cream store, will show you are reliable. Consider volunteering in an area you have interest in. Or possibly take a summer class to get ahead and prepared for more advanced classes.
Make sure there’s a solid foundation. The best test prep for college entrance exams is for your student to have a solid foundation and understanding of their course work. Good grades may not always mean you truly learned the subject matter. And not-so-good grades mean you need more help to really understand the subject matter. Consider getting a tutor or ask for help from your teacher.