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college countdown: your college success starts here


Freshman Year

Freshman: School Year

Jump to Parent Timeline.


Should have done by now
  • Sign up for a challenging but manageable freshman year.


boy class

  • Take high school seriously. Even your freshman grades matter.
  • Learn how to balance your academic load with your extracurricular and social activities.
  • Plan your sophomore year classes.


Helpful, But Not Required
  • Try one or two activities—try new things that interest you.
  • Walk around nearby colleges to see what they're like.
  • Introduce yourself to your counselor.
  • Do something productive during the summer, such as volunteer work, internships, and summer classes.




For you to do
  • Introduce yourself to your child's counselor.
  • Think about how your child's education will be paid for.
  • Determine your family's affordability threshold.
For you to help your student
  • Help your child with time management.
  • Make sure your child has a quiet place to study without distraction.
  • Help your child create his or her four-year academic plan.
  • Start getting informed about colleges.
  • Walk around nearby colleges with your child.
Ongoing Tasks

- Create your four-year academic plan; include challenging courses.

- Work hard to get good grades.
- Save a few examples of your best work (essays, projects, etc.).
- Keep an updated resume.
- Get involved in extracurricular activities.
- Explore potential career options: talk to people, check the Internet, etc.