Below are guidelines that you should follow throughout your freshman year of high school.
Things to Keep in Mind
  • Start off on the right foot with your grades. Freshman grades matter. Colleges look at your overall GPA through all four years of high school.
  • Participate in extracurricular activities. They're a great way to meet new people. Many scholarship organizations consider a student's involvement in school and community activites. GET INVOLVED!
  • Stay organized by using a planner or electronic organizer.
  • Get to know your teachers, counselor, and administrators and take advantage of all the resources that are available in your school.
  • Attend Freshmen Orientation on Tuesday, August 12th @ 1:00pm in the Cafeteria.
  • Ask your parents and other adults what they like and dislike about their careers. Find out what type of training or education is required for each job.
  • Many colleges require four years of English; three to four years of math, science and social studies; two years of electives; and two to four years of foreign language to be considered for admission. Be aware that some courses that are offered don't count towards the admission requirements. Work with your school counselor to stay on track. Also, be aware that the NCAA has its' own requirements if you plan to play sports after college. See your counselor with any questions you have regarding the types of classes and credits you need.
  • Get to know the different types of postsecondary institutions. There are colleges and universities that offer four-year degrees and beyond as well as community colleges and technicial institutes that offer many different programs that can run 12 months to two years in length.
  • Start developing an activities portfolio to keep track of your participation in extracurriculars. This will be a great resource when it's time to fill out scholarship and college admission applications.
  • Saving money is the best way to prepare for the cost of a college education. Check out for information on college savings plans.
  • Think about what you like to do, what you're good at and what you value most. Talk to your counselor about assessments you can take to help identify a potential career.
  • Look back at your portfolio that you created on I Have a Plan Iowa in 8th grade. Keep exploring the program for help in finding careers that interest you and colleges that would support this career path.
  • Compare college costs throughout the country with I Have a Plan Iowa (IHAPI), the state's designated career-management system. Ask the school counselor if you have forgotten your IHAPI login information.
  • Talk to your parents about your plans for the future. Discuss your personal and academic strengths and how you plan to reach your career goals.
  • Get in the habit of reading in your free time. This will help you develop a strong vocabulary, which is an important component in college entrance exams.
  • Volunteer in your community. Some scholarships are awarded based on community service.
  • How are your computer skills? Work to become proficient in common computer applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and learn how to use the Internet as a research tool.
  • Do you have a favorite college sports team? Is there a college you've always dreamed of attending? Research colleges online and create a list of what you like most and least about each school.
  • Become familiar with the types of financial aid available for college. Financial aid includes grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans. Grants and scholarships don't have to be paid back. Work-study enables students to earn money by working part time on campus. Loans must be repaid.
  • What subjects do you like in school? IHAPI has an option where you can search for careers by entering the subjects you like. Try it out!
  • A majority of the fastest-growing jobs require some type of postsecondary education. Research careers to learn more about your options. Which jobs are in demand? What type of education/training is required?
  • If you're an athlete hoping to play sports in college, it's important to plan ahead. Find out what the academic requirements are in order to participate at
  • Your grades are important but most colleges prefer students who challenge themselves with tougher courses and earn average grades, than students who take easier courses that will boost their GPAs.
  • Meet with your school counselor to select your classes for 10th grade. Choose your courses wisely to stay on track to meet college admission requirements.
  • Continue to research jobs related to your interests. Visit for links to helpful web sites.
  • Make the most of your summer. Search for summer camps in your area of interest (e.g., sports, band, drama, or academic). Check with teachers, counselors, and coaches for recommendations.
  • Work hard to keep your grades high. Final exams will be coming up soon. Remember that your freshman year grades are important for college admission.
  • Do you have friends, or family members who are high school seniors? Talk to them about their plans for next year. Ask them how they made their decisions and what was involved in the college selection process.
  • Attend a game, play, concert, or other cultural experience on a local campus to get exposure to the campus environment.
  • Check with your school counselor to see if there's a summer camp program you could attend to catch up or to get ahead academically.
  • Learn about the world of work through job shadowing, volunteering, or interning this summer.
  • Cultivate relationships with teachers, school counselors, coaches, and community members. Some could end up being sources for letters of recommendation when it's time to submit scholarhip and/or college applications.
  • Start a summer reading list.
  • Will you be attending summer camp on a college campus? If so, while you're there, think about whether it's a school you would like to attend.
  • Talk to your family members, friends, teachers, school counselor, and coaches about their college experiences.
  • Make a list of colleges you're interested in researching and visit for information on how to get started.
  • This summer, participate in hobbies and activities related to your career interests.
  • Don't be afraid to alter your career goals as you learn more about yourself and the worl of work but remember to keep your goals attainable.