The 5 Do’s and Don'ts for 9th and 10th Graders Who Want to Get a Leg up in the College Admissions Process


It’s still early. You don’t need to create your dream college list or polish up your resume just yet. In your 9th and 10th grade year, you should be focusing on your studies, getting involved in extracurricular activities, and setting up healthy habits to carry you through the next few years.

Here are the do’s and don’ts for 9th and 10th graders who want to get a leg up in the college admissions process:

Photo by  Ben Weber  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ben Weber on Unsplash

DO sign up for extracurriculars that you are genuinely interested in. Find out what your school has to offer and try out a few of the club meetings at the beginning of the year to see what interests you most.

DON’T get involved in too many clubs and sports to the point where you can’t keep up with the commitments. Your priority should be keeping your grades up and exploring your passions without overwhelming yourself.

DO find out what helps you stay organized. Is it post-it notes on your desk at home? Is it a hard-copy planner? Your Google calendar? Try out different methods to see what works best with your learning style and preferences. Here is a list of 7 organization tips to get you started.

DON’T wait to get organized until your grades start to slip. A lot of us don’t realize we need to change our ways until we see the C- on our report card. Test out your organization before your schedule gets the best of you.

Photo by  Tra Nguyen  on  Unsplash

Photo by Tra Nguyen on Unsplash

DO get to know your guidance counselor and teachers. Whether through extra help with your teacher after class or setting up a meeting with your counselor, find ways to connect with educators; they’ll be part of your support system when you’re applying to colleges.

DON’T be disrespectful to your educators. It might not seem like a big deal at the time, but people notice when you are disrespectful. The more respect you give teachers, the more respect they will give you, and the more willing they will be to write letters of support when you need them for college applications.

DO prioritize sleep. Keeping alert in class is crucial to understanding your homework and keeping your grades up.

DON’T let all-nighters be an option. If all-nighters are an option in your mind, a small part of you will be inclined to avoid studying and procrastinate until it’s too late. When you tell yourself you will prioritize sleep over cramming the night before, you’ll use your study halls and weekends to prevent all-nighters.

DO take time to relax and be with friends. At this point, many students don’t have jobs or as many commitments that will inevitably pile on as the years go by. Take advantage of the time you have to get to know others and spend quality time with your peers outside of school and extracurriculars.

DON’T put friends before your studies. Relationships are important, but if you have to miss dinner at a friend’s house to study for a test, it’s okay. It’ll be hard at first, but you’ll be glad you did in the long run.