There’s an old Chinese saying that goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” But no matter how unsure you feel taking that first step, every single one after that will be a little easier. It also helps if you have a plan to follow through your freshman year—and here it is.
Figure out what you want to do.
- Start thinking about your future and career possibilities.
- Explore different occupations that match your interests.
- Keep your options open.
- Use time outside of school wisely.
- Get help when it’s needed.
Do your best in class.
- Take control. Learn to be a good student.
- Get off to a good start! Study hard, turn in all assignments, and do your best to earn good grades.
- Review your academic strengths and weaknesses. Talk with friends and family about careers and possible college choices.
- Sign up for pre-algebra, if at all possible.
- Get to know your teachers.
- Take the right courses.
- Read, read, read!
- Start learning about different financial aid programs from your school counselor or teachers.
- Save money now to pay for school, and keep saving, a little at a time makes a difference.
- Talk to your parents about educational loyalty programs.
- Attend, with your parent or guardian, any financial planning or “how to afford college” programs offered at your school or in the community.
- Research on the web, and check out our Resources section for some helpful links.
Talk to your school counselor about:
- Going to a college or university.
- College-track courses to start taking in middle school.
- The importance colleges and universities place on grades, and at what year will your school grades start to matter in the admissions process.
- College preparatory, AP, and other honors-level courses you should be taking in high school (9th through 12th grade).
- Academic enrichment programs (including summer and weekend programs) available through your school or local colleges.
- Pursuing extracurricular activities (such as sports, performing arts, volunteer work, or other activities that interest you).
Other top tips:
- Apply for a Social Security Number if you do not already have one.
- Take advantage of every opportunity to participate in enrichment activities.
- Visit a local college campus.