College? My High School Student is Only a Freshman.

The first quarter of a freshmen’s high school career has just ended. You are saying to yourself, “this is surely too early to think about college.” Actually it is not. Freshmen have two big advantages in the college search process; time and a blank slate. Time because there is plenty of it to conduct a proper college search and a blank slate because students can properly create an impressive transcript and college resume. Here are four ways to do that.

Develop Good Study Habits

If a student has not already done this, make sure they develop this lifelong habit now. Perhaps a student is overwhelmed by a fall sport or participating in every extracurricular that has been announced over the PA. The best study skill is always time management. Establish a plan as to when the student will be completing their homework each night, including reviewing class notes and rereading the material. Make sure they are working in a well lit area that is free of distractions. Other important habits that are often overlooked include ensuring the student receives the proper amount of sleep (to focus in school) and eating a proper diet (eating brain foods such a fruits and vegetables). Stay consistent with these study skills and do not develop ones your student will not be able to break.

Earn Good Grades

It seems simple, but often it is not. Many times a high school freshmen does not think their actions can impact the rest of their life. It can and does. If a freshman earns poor grades, they have to work that much harder to raise their Grade Point Average (GPA). Remember, colleges only consider a student’s first six semesters of school work because they apply during the first semester of senior year. If a student receives a ‘D’ during their freshmen year, the ‘twak’ you just heard could have been a college closing the door on your student. Colleges consider GPA during the admission process, along with the rigor of courses taken. It is never too late to begin to correct mistakes. It is never too early to learn new skills.

Get Involved

If your student has not already done so, they should get involved. Every school has a plethora of sports, clubs and activities. If they are unsure about a club’s activities, they should seek out the sponsor or attend a meeting. Remember, they are not obligated to attend the next meeting. In addition to being involved, these activities are the beginning to their college resume. Colleges seek students who actively participate in clubs. They should seek out leadership roles in one or two clubs, another item that would look great on a college resume. Joining clubs can help students find new friends, establish their college resume and perhaps even find their passion, which could lead to their future career.

Find Your Passion

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” said Confucius. This is very true, but how do we know what we love to do? The best way is to seek out opportunities until we find something that we enjoy. Perhaps none of those activities will be your student’s passion, but somewhere along the way, your student will find it. Seek out many opportunities, whether it be: volunteering, applying for a job, clubs, sports, or academics. As my mom told me, “It is always easier to quit than join.” This is sound advice. Hopefully along the way, you find your passion.

Do you have other advice for a high school freshmen? Add a comment, we would love to hear it!

Need help with your sophomore applying to college? Have other college admission questions? Contact Us

Thomas Jaworski is the lead consultant of Quest College Consulting. He is an Independent College Counselor with over ten years experience in the college admission process as an Certified Illinois Teacher (Type 09) and Counselor (Type 73) while also a member of IECA and NACAC. For more information, you can visit his website at or email him at Follow him on Twitter @Tom_QuestCC or on Facebook at

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