16 College Prep Resources for High School Freshmen

Thursday, December 8, 2016

college prep freshman year of high school.jpgIt’s Never Too Early To Get Started With College Prep


All the focus might be on seniors right now, but this is actually the perfect time for high school freshmen to start thinking about their college goals – even if they seem really far off.

Colleges look at all four years of courses, grades, activities, and more when evaluating college applications. It’s not just junior and senior year that colleges care about. They want to see how students have progressed over their time in high school, and if they’re truly ready for the rigors of a college education.

While no one expects high school freshmen to have their “dream college” and major picked out, it is helpful to start thinking about college now in broader terms. What do you think about a college education? Is that an important goal for you? Is your academic performance a priority? What do you need to do now to make sure your grades are solid and improving? These are the type of “college prep” questions that freshmen can think about now, without causing too much anxiety or pushing too much college talk too soon.

Starting College Prep Early

Why should you start college prep freshman year of high school? There are a number of reasons why – mainly that colleges will look at your freshman year records. But also because preparing for and applying to college is a journey to learning more about yourself, your interests, and using that information to ultimately form your college goals. Here are some resources to get you started and highlight why it’s important to start exploring college options now.

  1. The Truth About College Prep: Why Students Should Start Early
  2. Start Early: Secrets to Success for College Admissions
  3. Freshmen: Plant the Seeds for College Prep Now
  4. College Prep Tips: What College Admission Officers are Really Looking For in Applicants

Exploring Interests

One of the first things you’ll do, no matter what grade you’re in, when preparing for college is to really try to figure out what you like. Do you love science? Or are you more of an arts student? What interests you? How do you know what interests you? Figuring out what you enjoy and how that factors into your college plans in the future is something you can easily start as soon as you get into high school.

  1. How to Identify and Focus Your Interests
  2. Building a Well-Rounded Class: Why Colleges Want Specialists
  3. College Prep Tips: The Benefits of Outside Reading
  4. Finding Community Service Opportunities that Match Your Interests

Outside Reading

As shown above, outside reading is a great way to explore your interests and get involved with activities that you like. It’s also a great way to learn, expand your vocabulary, and improve your writing. Outside reading is the easiest college prep that students can start with and build upon as move through high school.

  1. The Truth About Outside Reading: Why It’s Important and What to Read
  2. IvyWise Summer Reading List
  3. Recommended Reading for High School Students


As mentioned before, colleges care about your academic performance during all four years of high school. It’s great for students to establish a strong academic foundation with good grades freshman year, but students can often have a hard time adjusting to a high school curriculum at first – and that’s okay! Freshmen can start their college prep by just watching their grades, asking for help, and making sure they take a challenging course load sophomore year.

  1. What Matters Most to Colleges? Good Grades
  2. Grades: How to Identify Problems and When to Ask for Help
  3. Tips for Students With Bad Grades
  4. Choosing the Right Classes: Importance of Course Rigor When Applying to College
  5. 5 Tips for Choosing High School Classes


Getting started on college prep during freshman year of high school doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. As long as students are exploring their interests, working hard in class, and thinking about what goals they may have for the future, they’ll be on the right track to a successful college prep journey as they move into sophomore, junior, and senior year.

Need more college prep help? Download our free college planning checklist to stay on track!


Related Topics

9th Grade, College Prep
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