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Is Freshman Year of High School Too Early to Start Thinking About College?

By Molly Walsh -

When you’re a freshman in high school, one of the last things on your mind is applying

to college. Yes, a few of your peers know exactly where they want to go and what they

want to study, but most have no idea.

Freshman year of high school is full of adjustments. Not only are you attending a new

school and meeting new people, but you are also expected to navigate crowded halls,

tough classes, and social pressures. Surviving the year with minimal scratches is a

priority, so why would you think about college?

I’m an 8th-grade teacher, and I always give my students some tips about freshman year

at the end of the school year. I start off by telling them they have support from many

adults in their lives, including me. I then explain that their first year of high school

counts. This is the easiest academic year they will have in high school (and in no way

am I saying it’s not challenging, but compared to sophomore, junior, and senior years, it

is not as demanding). I encourage my students to get straight A’s in their first year,

which counts toward their GPA. It’s hard to imagine that anything you do in school four

years before you go to college would make an impact, but it does.

When it comes to choosing classes for freshman year, challenge yourself with an

honors class or if available, an AP class. Pay attention to your teachers and eliminate

distractions such as using your phone in class. Reading is also a great habit to start

early. The more you read, the more prepared you will be for college. Almost every

course in college requires a significant amount of reading, so please take this advice.

Be prepared to act as an adult. This is the time to advocate for yourself and learn to

solve your own academic issues. Find out who to talk to at school when an issue pops

up. Whether it’s your counselor, teacher, or administrator, know that staff members are

there to help you. Your school may even have time set aside each week for tutoring

services and a writing center—use these resources. No one wants to see you struggle,

so ask for help!

Time management is a tough skill to master. Freshman year is a perfect time to start

figuring out how to balance school, extracurriculars, and home life. You will have to

prioritize tasks that may take longer and budget your time throughout the day to

accomplish your goals. One way to manage your time is to make a list the night before

of things you need to do the next day. Plug in the constants, like time at school and

after-school activities. Then add everything else you need to do. Get a headstart on

projects and study early for tests. You will relieve yourself of a lot of stress. It feels so

good to cross items off your list when they are completed!

One last tip to think about is saving your money. Not everyone has a job during high

school, but most students get jobs in the summer. It’s so tempting to spend the earned

money on fun activities with friends or to purchase items for yourself. Isn’t that what

money is for? Make a plan to set aside a little money from each paycheck. It may only

be $5.00 a paycheck, but it will add up. College is expensive, and no matter where you

go, you will want to have some spending money, so why not start now?

Enjoy your high school experience, and don’t worry too much about college. Take

responsibility for your education, and you will be fine!


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