Rising freshmen: here's how you can prepare for the year ahead

Rising freshmen, you’ve conquered middle school and you’re already looking ahead to your high school career. You are ambitious, hard-working, and determined to make the most of the next four years. This summer, set yourself up for a successful freshman year by dedicating a few hours each week to preparation and exploration.

In this post, we’ll highlight specific steps you can take right now to get ahead of the game and start the upcoming school year feeling calm, prepared, and (of course) zen.

desk with post-it notes

1. Start your high school resume.

Even if all you do is write your name, contact information, and school name at the top of the page, get that document started! You’ll be so busy during your first year of high school, and you’ll want to update this resume regularly (aim for once a month) to keep track of all the amazing things you accomplish.

2. Draft a long-term course plan.

Are there certain courses you know you want to take during high school? Does your school offer academic tracks with specific prerequisites? Take stock of your long-term academic goals now so that when you start selecting courses, you can do so with these goals in mind.

3. Research summer programs.

Summer programs are a great way to develop your interest in a field, immerse yourself in your passion, or identify future career paths. Many programs accept applications from high school freshmen. Some applications will be due as early as November, so doing research this summer will put you far ahead of the game.

4. Schedule a counselor meeting

If you have a guidance or admissions counselor at your school, take advantage of the opportunity to meet him or her! It’s never too early to develop a genuine, positive relationship with this key supporter. Tips for making a great first impression: schedule the meeting yourself, rather than asking a parent to do it for you. During the meeting, share some of your interests and goals, ask thoughtful questions, and take notes.

5. Explore your interests.

Take a class at a local college, try an online course, audition for a community performance – if you’re itching to try it, now’s the time! If you only have time for one item on this list, pick this one. Investing time and energy in your interests is arguably the most valuable work you can do right now. As you start building a high school career, you’re going to want to be able to choose activities and projects you really care about, since you’ll be dedicating a lot of time to them. So consider this summer your “exploration period” and enjoy the process of experimenting with potential passions!

We would love to hear from you about how you make the most of your summer - send us an email and let us know what you're up to. Make sure to check back tomorrow for another round of zen tips.