Now that school is officially underway and we have a couple of weeks of classes under our belts, it’s time for reality to set it. The thrill of coming back to school has likely faded. Now the work begins!

As a high school counselor, one of my primary roles is to help students navigate their four years of high school and set them up for success afterwards. For freshmen just starting this journey it is important to get off to a good start. Time goes by incredibly fast, and the choices freshmen make definitely have an impact of their future plans.

I’ve written many posts on topics like extracurricular activities and community service, but these are only a part of the picture. Below are a few simple actions freshmen can take now to put themselves in a good position for success down the road.

  • It is never too early to PLAN for the future!

  • Build strong academic, language, mathematics and critical thinking skills by taking challenging courses. Push yourself to take an honors or AP class.

  • Study hard and get the best grades you possibly can.

  • Strengthen your vocabulary by increasing your reading.

  • Meet your high school guidance counselor and discuss your plans for the next four years.

  • If you have a diagnosed learning difference or other educational-impacting disability, discuss 504 accommodations with your guidance counselor.

  • Spend time before school or after school with each teacher. This will help build relationships that will pay off in the long run.

  • Become involved in extracurricular activities. Keep an academic and extracurricular record. (This will be the beginning of what will later be your resume.)

  • Volunteer with an organization in your church, community, or neighborhood. Keep track of these hours (e.g., using a Community Service Log).

  • Be enterprising. Start your own business or develop a volunteer opportunity where you see a need.

  • Begin saving money for college.

  • Research career possibilities.

  • Make sure your summer plans include some meaningful activities. Work, volunteer, travel, take classes.

  • Take PSAT in October.

  • Take ACT Aspire in April.

  • Balance is key! Don’t overload yourself in any one area. Find time to enjoy life, hang out with friends, see a concert, etc.!


And remember…READ!