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Break it down: What should 9th & 10th graders be doing now to prepare for the future?

Ninth and 10th grades are full of new experiences, responsibilities, and opportunities. It is important to build good habits in both academics and extracurricular activities. Remember, everything you do from now on will be included on your college applications!

  • Join one or two clubs or activities. Extracurricular activities are a great way to explore your interests, meet new people, and strengthen your college profile.
  • Build an academic resume. Start keeping track of everything you’re doing now so you aren’t struggling to remember later.
  • Begin preparing now for the Oct. 24 administration of the PSAT. If you haven’t done so, create an account on Khan Academy and CollegeBoard, and link them together for personalized PSAT practice.
  • Set aside time to build math, reading, and writing skills on Khan Academy regularly throughout the year. This will strengthen your academics, as well as your PSAT and SAT scores.
  • Use a planner (either digital or paper). With eight classes, keeping track of your upcoming assignments and exams by memory is an easy way to forget something.
  • Build effective study habits now. In high school, your work is more challenging than it was in middle school. Everyone studies differently, but if you “cram” just hours before an exam, you will not get the grade you need to have.
  • Challenge yourself academically! Make sure you are taking at least one pre-AP course. See your high school counselor for more information.
  • Go to your school’s College Night. Start meeting recruiters now to learn about different colleges and universities and what they offer.
  • Watch this website for Summer Learning Opportunities (such as the Rice Young Owls Leadership Program). Participating in a summer program strengthens your resume and provides insight into what you may want to study in college.
  • Volunteer regularly. Competitive college applicants volunteer no less than 75-100 hours per year (300-400 hours total in high school). Visit org to learn more about volunteer opportunities near you.