College Checklist: 9th Graders in High School

Ninth grade is an important year in a student’s college-preparation journey.

Are you a ninth-grader? It’s not too early in your high school life to start preparing for college.

Here’s your to-do list for your first year of high school.

9th Grade Checklist To Do

  • Take challenging classes in core academic subjects. Most colleges require four years of English, at least three years of social studies (history, civics, geography, economics, etc.), three years of mathematics, and three years of science, and many require two years of a foreign language. Round out your course load with classes in computer science and the arts.
  • Work with one of your parents to estimate your financial aid and be sure to save for college.
  • Get involved in school- or community-based activities that interest you or let you explore career interests. Consider working, volunteering, or participating in academic enrichment programs, summer workshops, and camps with specialty focus such as music, arts, or science. Remember, it’s quality and not quantity that counts.
  • Ask your guidance counselor or teachers what Advanced Placement courses are available, whether you are eligible, and how to enroll in them.
  • Use the U.S. Department of Labor’s career search tool to research your career options.
  • Start a list of your awards, honors, paid and volunteer work, and extracurricular activities. Update it throughout high school.

To Explore


To Do:

  • Talk to your child about college plans as if he or she will definitely go to college.
  • Keep an eye on your child’s study habits and grades—stay involved.
  • Encourage your child to take Advanced Placement or other challenging classes.
  • Add to your child’s college savings account regularly, and make sure you are fully aware of the provisions of the account.
  • Get familiar with the Financial Aid process.

>> Read the College Checklist: 10th Graders in High School

Jason Vitug

Jason Vitug is a bestselling author, entrepreneur, and founder of and His purpose to help others live their best lives through experiential and purposeful living. Jason is also a certified yoga teacher and breathwork specialist and has traveled to over 40 countries.

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