Middle Schoolers: Get Ready!

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 saving.

  • 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.