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College Timeline for 9th Graders

college timeline for freshmen

What is the college timeline for 9th graders in high school that will help ensure that they are ready for college admission down the road?

Freshman year means the start of high school, and with that comes a lot of changes. There are a lot of things to adjust to, and it might seem like college is a long way off, but your freshman year is the perfect time to start doing some small but important things that will help you later on with the college admissions process.

Not sure how you could possibly use your freshman year to get ready for college? Don’t worry; we’ve got the answers for you!


Get involved!  Try out new extracurricular activities, and continue to pursue those that already interest you. 

Build relationships with your teachers and school guidance counselor.

Make sure you’re taking a course load that’s rigorous but not out of your reach. Colleges will look at your entire transcript from high school, so now is the time to start impressing. [Read this: Which is better–hard courses or a great GPA].

The transition to high school can be tough; don’t fall behind, and make sure to seek academic help from your teachers, if you need it.  If you need help figuring out how to study efficiently, check out this website called Study Hacks for tips and ideas from Cal Newport.


Talk to your family about your college budget. It’s good to have an idea now of how much you’ll be able to pay and how much you’ll want to look for scholarships and other sources of funding.

Start thinking about your summer plans.  A job?  What sort of job?  A summer academic enrichment program?  A camp or travel experience?  Waiting until the last minute is always a bad idea.  Prepare!  Ask questions!  Talk to potential employers.  Also talk to your parents about their expectations and budgetary realities.  If you want to read more about how best to prepare for summer, read this article.

Think about ways to amplify your extracurricular activities.  A sports or music camp?  A summer community theater production?  Build your art portfolio?  Volunteering? Make plans for the summer that will be both fun and productive.


Plan courses for sophomore year, with an eye to what you will take for the rest of your high school career.  Plan ahead, but know that you can always made modifications to your plans as you learn more about what you are best at and what you enjoy most.  Looking for more information about academic planning in high school? Read this article.

Continue to make summer plans so that you can hit the ground running as soon as school is out.


Implement the plan you started upon in the winter.

Read!  Nothing can help prepare you for the English language portions of the standardized testing than reading.  Novels.  Non-fiction.  Magazines and newspapers.  Even comic books.  Read at every opportunity.

College Timeline For 9th Graders– A Summary

High school should be a fun and exciting time for you! As you embark on your high school career, start to focus on these important things early so you have an easier time later on.

Your classes. Make sure you’re challenging yourself, but don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You want to do as well as you can in the most challenging courses for you.

Your extracurriculars. Whether you’re involved in sports, clubs, a job, or family obligations, make sure you’re keeping track of what you’re doing. Colleges want you to be interested in things other than academics, so make sure you plan your involvements.

Your relationships. Building relationships with teachers and guidance counselors matters, and the earlier you can get to know these people, the more they’ll be able to help you along the way.

A college timeline for freshmen is important so that you can stay on track. But be sure not to sweat the small stuff. Focus on getting good grades, enjoying your extracurricular involvements, and nurturing your relationships.

Mark Montgomery
CEO and Founder, Great College Advice


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