By Abby Siegel



Entering 9th grade can be scary. Students are most likely entering a new school, meeting new friends, and realizing that grades now count toward college admission!


Here are some tips and advice for incoming 9th graders:


The number one thing high school freshmen should be doing is planning ahead. Think about what you want to accomplish over the next four years, both academically and personally. Set some goals and do your best to achieve them.


It is very important to develop a four-year academic plan – NOW. Colleges are looking for students who challenge themselves. They also preferably want students who take five academic subjects for all four years of high school (English, History/Social Science, Foreign Language, Math and Science). Draw up a potential four-year academic plan and aim for as challenging a curriculum as you can handle. For example, if you are taking Geometry in 9th grade, you will most likely then take Algebra 2, Pre-calculus and Calculus. If you are doing well in math aspire to take an Honors course and then possibly AP Calculus. Dropping a foreign language is not preferable unless you have a learning disability that prevents you from grasping the language. If you decide to drop an academic class it is recommended that you replace it with another academic subject.


Joining extracurricular activities is also highly recommended. Colleges are not looking for students who belong to every club or sports team offered by their high school. They want students who are dedicated to a few activities over the course of four years. Colleges also like for students to demonstrate leadership. Think about which clubs and/or teams interest you and get involved early. Do you want to be a team Captain or Club President? Set some goals for the future and develop leadership skills.


Students are required to submit recommendations when they apply to college. Building relationships with your guidance counselor and teachers is key to success in high school. Most colleges want recommendations from teachers from the junior year, but many freshmen and sophomore year teachers can add valuable insight and potential feedback to the guidance counselor. In addition, students may need recommendations from these teachers for summer internships or programs.


Ninth grade is the perfect time for students to begin developing and enhancing their time and organizational management skills. Procrastination leads to unnecessary late nights and loss of sleep. Teachers often deduct for missing or late homework assignments, so learning how to organize your time so you can fit in academics, extracurricular activities and fun outside of school is of the utmost importance.


Finally, remember to have fun! Enjoy this time and always ask for help from teachers, counselors, friends and especially parents if you need it.


Abby Siegel & Associates, LLC is a college admissions counseling firm that works with high school students from around the world to help them navigate the college admissions process. Learn more about the services provided at Follow us on Facebook at or email at