College-Ready Timeline: Your Freshman Year

You may not have made a firm decision about what you want to study or where you will go to college, but decisions you make now can affect your college career. Here are some tips to get you thinking and planning for college.

Learn more about yourself

  • Personality: How do you act and feel in different situations?
  • Interests: What are the things that you like to do in class or as a hobby?
  • Skills: What are the classes where you excel?
  • Talk to your guidance counselor about taking personality or interest tests. They can be helpful when choosing a college program best suited for your career choice.

Meet with your guidance counselor early and regularly

  • Meet with your guidance counselor to discuss your college plans.
    –  Make sure you are enrolled in the appropriate diploma track. Are you enrolled in a technical/vocational track when you should be in college prep?
  • Choose challenging classes that will help you prepare for college.
  • Talk to your counselor about preparing for any necessary tests such as the ACT/SAT.
    –  Planning these tests early works toward your benefit. It’s always best to take subject tests (i.e., World History, Chemistry, etc.) while the material is still fresh in your mind.

Develop good study habits

  • Attend class everyday.
  • Do you homework each night.
  • Don’t work on long term projects at the last minute.
  • Ask for help as soon as you experience difficulty with any of your classes.
  • Colleges look at each year’s grade point average (GPA) so it’s important to keep up good grades though out high school. Work with your counselor or teachers now if your GPA is low.

Get involved

  • Volunteering is a great way to discover your interests and start narrowing down career choices.
  • College admissions offices look for diverse students who demonstrate passion and commitment beyond just academics. Involvement in sports, volunteering, student or community groups can set you apart from other applicants.
  • Your extra curricular activities can often lead to scholarship opportunities.

Find out more about colleges at

  • Attend college fairs in your area—you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about local colleges, their admissions requirements and programs.
  • Ask family, friends and teachers about their college experience.
    –  What college did they choose and why?
    –  What factors did they not consider during the selection process that they wished they had?
Categories: College, College & Career Advice