Freshman Year Transition and Preparation
High school goes by fast, so freshman year is the best time for students to start thinking about goals after graduation. Ninth grade is a big transition into a new campus with new classmates and teachers. Whether attending a general high school or a magnet school, classes are more challenging and extracurricular activities are more competitive. Additionally, this is a time when some students will start looking to enroll in driver’s ed online or at a driving school. And some may start a part-time job.
Advice for Starting High School as a Freshman
Starting high school requires more studying, homework, and time management to work on large projects. Planning and organization at the freshman level will set students up for better success throughout high school. Good grades in the ninth grade can allow for opportunities to take AP and dual credit courses later. Higher-level classes are weighted so that if you do well, your GPA increases more than in regular-level courses.
FRESHMAN YEAR STUDENT TO-DOs
- Meet with your school counselor to learn graduation requirements and create a 4-year plan.
- Choose electives that interest you, and get involved in interesting and fun activities like sports or school clubs.
- Consider taking the ACT Aspire exam. The Aspire test helps school districts monitor student progress. Teachers prepare students for the topics covered on the ACT Aspire, unlike the ACT where you are responsible for preparing for on your own. This test can give you an idea of what you need to work on and study for.
- Start keeping track of your GPA. You can use an easy online high school GPA calculator that will help you stay aware of what grades you need to make for college acceptance or scholarships.
- Volunteer during your summer break, or find a hobby or activity that interests you. These experiences are valuable on a future college application.
- Ask your counselor questions.
- Evaluate yourself and your goals.
The top 5 questions to ask your freshman counselor are:
- What credits do I need to graduate in four years?
- What should my GPA goal be by the time I apply for college?
- Am I a good candidate to consider taking AP or advanced academic courses?
- Which courses can I take that are transferable to colleges?
- How often should we meet to go over my academic plan and make sure I am staying on track?
There are a few things you might want to think about to help create your educational plan.
- Where do you see yourself in 8 years?
- What lifestyle do you see yourself living?
- What is your dream job? What is your second choice of career?
- What are your greatest strengths/ weaknesses?
- What type of college or trade school do you wish to attend?
- How will you pay for college/ trade school?
Sources for Starting High School and Additional Information
- Freshman Through Senior Year Checklist– Colleges of Distinction
- ACT Aspire Information and Prep– Prep Scholar
- 50 Questions to Ask Your Counselor– Colleges of Distinction
- What to Expect Freshman Year– The Princeton Review
- College Prep Guide: How to Create a Four-Year Plan for High School Freshmen– Colleges of Distinction
- Drivers Ed FAQs– TDLR Texas
Go Public’s Education Timeline is the ultimate parent guide for navigating Pre-K through graduation. The purpose is to help parents know what to expect at each grade level and provide guidance on all that is offered in a public education. A huge benefit of public schools are the resources that support a student. The Education Timeline serves as a compass for navigating those resources. Each phase will also have helpful information, guides, and checklists.
The Timeline was researched and compiled from multiple sources cited throughout each phase. Refer to the timeline graphic below for the featured grade level. Click on each icon to learn more about what to expect and how to prepare.
Go Public content producer and parent of two public school students, Trina Pruitt, developed the Education Timeline to help herself and other parents learn what to expect at each phase of a child’s journey in school.