Preparing for College: Ninth Grade Checklist

School Year

Investigate college requirements and which high school classes colleges require you to complete. Plan accordingly. 

Take challenging classes. Look at our guide to Choosing Classes for more detailed information on how to choose a balanced workload.

Meet with your counselor early in the year (if possible) to discuss your high school and college goals.

Participate in meaningful extracurricular activities. Colleges value quality and depth of involvement. (If you need to work to help support your family or take care of a family member, colleges understand and will take that into consideration.)


Read as much as you can, and read a variety of materials. Reading builds your vocabulary and strengthens writing skills.

Take summer school/community college/online courses to enhance your academic record.

Prepare for the PSAT and/or PLAN (pre-SAT and pre-ACT) tests. The National Merit Scholarship is a prestigious national award for which you can only qualify if you score well on the PSAT.

Continue to participate in activities if possible, such as community service projects, or part-time jobs.