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Is Grade 9 too Early to Prepare for College?

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When choosing a college for your tertiary education, the earlier you begin, the better. This translates to a smoother application process, better preparation and, of course, a favorable outcome through the admission process. Starting freshman year in college with a 3.8 GPA makes it easier to finish college with at least that score, if not higher. Imagine the number of extra credit work and the additional courses you would have to load up on in college, which will also be capital expenditure. Let’s face it, college can be expensive, but not if you have your strategy in place. Taking an optimal set of AP/Honors courses in high school is a great way to begin college preparation on a right note. High school fees are way modest compared to the tuition fees in college, more so if you’re an out of state student or even an international student. The best way to succeed in your college admissions process is to start as you mean to finish, consistency being the key.

Acing your College Strategy

Researchers have conducted tests to prove that students who excel in 9th grade are far more likely to graduate high school, enroll in college, and remain in college beyond their freshman year. In comparison, students who struggled through their first year of high school are likely to drop out and are less likely to gain a degree beyond the high school diploma, if at all.

The research conducted by the Brookings Institute concludes that the 9th grade is a defining milestone for teenagers, with their scholastic conduct, in terms of classes and grades, attendance and extracurricular engagements being a strong indicator of the student’s academic future. Having established the importance of maintaining a solid academic flatline through high school in preparation for college, here’s a set of sterling rules to consider as a high school freshman.

Maintain a Record of Excellence

Cumulative GPA calculations and overall class ranks play an essential role in the selective college admission process. The battle for a speedy placement after college and a successful career begins right from school. Acing your assessments impacts your GPA positively, which helps you graduate in the top 10% of your college graduating class. And regardless of any rumor, a stellar GPA is a rock-solid asset that you can bank on to graduate at the top of your class, if not magna cum laude. On the other hand, a milquetoast GPA will bring great stress, especially when you hit your junior year and get busy with test prep, community service, and leadership initiatives. Indeed, as one progresses through high school, the immersion in activities increases in crescendo, leaving far little time to recover from a humdinger GPA early on in freshman year.

AP/Honors track

Let’s face it, the greater your academic course load, the more challenging it is to actually ‘enjoy’ high school. We recommend you defer your enjoyment till you finally get to college as a freshman for spring break. In high school, start by taking as many college prep classes as possible, like AP and Honors, which weigh heavily on your profile and GPA compared to regular classes. Also, making Dean’s list is a breeze when your GPA soars for having scored an A+ in your AP Calculus class. Also, taking a foreign language to at least an advanced level makes for a significant variation in your academic profile. Get in touch with your guidance counselor at the earliest and see if you can balance a more challenging course load from your freshman year at high school.

Other aspects of ace college preparation would include being an initiator in your school community, community service and other leadership or yeoman services that will distinguish you from the other college aspirants.

Summer Vacay vs Summer Work-Cay

Serious college preparation means optimal time management to make the most of the time off from school. Volunteering with the local humane society or even sussing out your chances for admission to SUMaC as a junior or senior, the best way to figure out whether you are on track is to ask yourself, “Will _ activity look good on my academic resume?” If the answer is yes, explore options on whether it would be worth doing this activity year-round to widen the scope of impact. Yet another task would be to find the correct guidance counsellor for you, even if it is a private counsellor.

Public High School counsellors have an impossible number of students under their care, often triple the caseloads recommended by the National Association for College Admission Counseling. If you attend a private school, where guidance counsellors are better positioned, it would be the right time to schedule that meeting with the counsellor to discuss your college strategy. The freshman year in high school is a significant milestone to assess your college readiness and put a game-on strategy to bag that admit to a great college, paving the way to your future success.

Want to learn more about how CollegePass helps students build Stellar College Profiles that stand out from the crowd? Click on the link below to schedule a free consultation with a CollegePass Admissions Advisor and discover what we can do to help you Get Into Your Dream College/University!


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