(2) For High School Freshmen & Sophomores (9th & 10th grade)

Your road to college begins with the first day of high school in ninth grade. When it comes time to apply for college, you want to be able to show that you challenged yourself and attained the best grades you could.

Enroll in challenging classes. Taking honors classes shows that you are willing to take on challenges. Plus taking honors classes in ninth and tenth grade will allow you to enroll in AP and IB classes later in high school. If you weren’t able to get into any honors classes this year, do your best in your classes so that you have the opportunity to enroll in honors classes next year.

Maintain good grades. While it is important to take challenging classes, it is just as important to show that you were able to succeed in these classes. Put your schoolwork as a priority, and develop good study habits (e.g., put away your phone so that you’re not tempted to check it every few minutes).

Read. Read. And read some more. Reading is incredibly important to your learning. Furthermore, whether you’re taking the SAT or ACT in a couple of years, all college admission tests require students to read and comprehend pretty dense material in a short period of time.

Get involved. Find out what you are good at and what interests you—and stick with it. When you apply for college in a few years, you should be able to answer the question: what matters to you?

On-going Activities
  • Sign up for the most challenging classes in accordance with your ability. Colleges look for indications of self-motivation and  potential from each student. 
  • Work hard to maintain good grades at school. If you start to struggle in your classes, seek help immediately. Ask you teacher for help. Utilize any peer tutoring services available at your school. Ask you parents to hire a private tutor for you.
  • Begin evaluating your abilities, interests, and future goals. Do a thorough self-examination of your motivation towards academics.
  • Join extracurricular activities which will enable you to demonstrate good citizenship and develop leadership abilities.
  • Look into various post-secondary school options such as four-year colleges, two-year colleges, and vocational/technical schools.
  • Make a preliminary list of criteria which you feel are important in selecting a college (e.g. size, location, etc.).
  • Be on the lookout for any college conferences at your school or other locations. Attend as many as possible. 
  • Attend “college nights”. Check with your school’s Guidance Office for dates, times, and locations.
  • Get familiar with your school’s Career Center and Resource Center. Meet the counselors and seek advice and guidance from them.
  • Utilize the college guides and catalogs. They are available in the aforementioned offices.
  • Make a list of colleges or universities that you might be interested in attending. Find out the admissions requirements for each school. Be aware of the different tests required by different colleges. While most of the competitive colleges require both the SAT Reasoning Test and SAT Subject Tests, some schools require only the SAT Reasoning Test.
  • Find out about scholarship opportunities.
  • Sophomores in advanced academic programs are encouraged to take the PSAT in October and one of the SAT Subject Tests in May or June. Consult with the Elite staff for more information on subjects and dates for the SAT Subject Tests.

For more recommended reading materials, search our Recommended Reading List for High School Students.