Once teens make the transition from middle school into high school, things begin to get real. While it is still a place to have fun and be social, high school is the time when the resume for college is developed. Something that can start as early as freshman year. Gone are the days of the first year of high school being a "throw away year." Higher education has become so competitive that grades are counting more than ever. Extracurricular activities that are interest-based or sports-related count when it comes to getting into college or not. And while this can be stressful, it does not have to be. Especially if planning for college starts freshman year of high school.

High school is a time for teens to figure out what it is they might be interested in pursuing in college. This can be done through internships, after-school jobs, and school clubs. All of these, along with grades, help to build the resume necessary for getting into the college of choice. Something that seems far off during freshman year, but really will come in the blink of an eye when all is said and done.

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Here is why planning for college starts freshman year of high school.

Foundation For Getting Good Grades Starts Early

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When it comes to looking at transcripts, it is true that colleges do not weigh freshman year of high school as heavily as the sophomore, junior, and senior years, according to Scholarships360. But that does not mean it is not factored in at all. As such, freshman year should not be treated as a nothing year. There is plenty to do in the first year of high school.

The biggest reason good grades are important freshman year, per the publication, is because the rest of a student's high school courses are determined based on the classes completed and grades received. As such, if there is slacking off happening during freshman year, it may not negatively impact a transcript for college. But not being diligent in studies may impede academic opportunities that could have been otherwise had for the duration of high school.

School Schedules Can Be Planned Accordingly

Freshman year is a time to plan out what the schedule of school will look like at large. As such, it is a foundation year to build upon for all the remaining years that play a huge role in transcripts and being accepted to college.

According to Mapping Your Future, the first step to planning a whole academic schedule for high school is to look at the classes being taken for ninth grade. Based on what is anticipated successful completion of these classes, freshmen can map out what they think they will be taking during their sophomore, junior, and senior years.

What teens need to know is that this is just a plan. It can be tailored based on interests that get piqued or a direction they find they want to take in college. But by having a plan in place, a roadmap to success is formed.

Extracurricular Activities Can Be Participated In

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While extracurricular activities cannot be a "substitute for good grades," according to the University of South Florida, they can show that teens are well-rounded and more than just their academic prowess. And a great way to get teens started is during their freshman year of high school.

The reason to get extracurriculars started during the first year of high school, is that in order to play on sports teams during later years of high school with all the proper equipment, a foundation of the basics needs to be laid. For those who want to participate in clubs, the earlier they begin, the greater chances there are of taking a leadership role in the club.

Being involved always looks good on transcripts. And the sooner that involvement begins, the better off high school kids are for it.

Relationships With Teachers Can Be Formed

One of the requirements for a stellar college application is having letters of recommendation from teachers. And the way to have a great letter written is to have a relationship forged with a few teachers that last from the freshman year to senior year.

Teens may not have the same teachers during all four years of high school. In fact, they likely will not. But that does not mean there are not ways to stay on the radar of teachers during their high school careers.

Ways to stay in touch with teachers for all four years of high school include:

  • Playing on sports teams that teachers coach
  • Being a student aid for a teacher
  • Participating in school clubs where teachers are advisors

The more genuine letters of recommendation can be written, the better it looks for college transcripts. And the best way to make this happen is to have teachers get to know students from the first year of high school to see how much they have matured and how successful they have become with their journey through high school.

Guidance Counselors Can Provide A Path Of Success To Be Followed

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Many students do not talk to their guidance counselors until their senior year of high school. By that time, it is far too late to create a solid plan for getting into college. This is why teens may want to reach out to their guidance counselors sooner rather than later to get their plan of attack for college underway.

According to BigFuture, guidance counselors can give teens a look at the big picture when it comes to planning for college. They can see if there are any gaps in their transcripts that need to be addressed and help to find classes that are not only enjoyable to take. Guidance counselors can even advise on the pros and cons of AP classes depending on the college that teens want to attend.

The more guidance counselors know about students, the better they can advise them. Making it a great reason to see counselors early on and every year throughout high school.

Source: Scholarships360, Mapping Your Future, University of South Florida, Big Future