3 College prep tips for
8th and 9th Graders

Does the concept of going to college inspire you and make you curious? Read this article as to how can you prepare a winning profile, and one more thing, do not forget your vocations. Vandana Mahajan, Director, Futures Abroad writes

For students who are in 8th or 9th grade, college seems so far away, but it’s the right time to start. Competition is increasing day-by-day. Learning should start from the moment you are nearing high school as your interests in various fields start developing at this point. It is a great time to assess your aptitude and your interest and set a strong foundation for your college admissions journey.

Now with over 1000 universities going test-optional, grades and unique profiles are an important piece of your application.

The decisions and choices you make now will have the immediate benefit of building a strong profile. Stronger the profile, the more competitive will be your college application. The most important thing to know is that colleges and educational institutions do not want ‘A’ type of student that they are looking for, instead, they want to see applicants who have a varied passion and have engaged in different areas of interest. College communities comprise of students from different countries with varied interests and backgrounds. The applicant that stands out is the one who has a unique profile.
Be confident of the things you love to study and the activities you engage in. This is what makes you unique or different from others. Universities want to see the commitment to whatever you choose to pursue.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your college prep if you are already in the 8th and 9th grades of your school.

Academics is #1

Universities want to see a student who has taken challenging courses through their high school years and has scored well. Compromising on academics will lead you NOWHERE.

Review your curriculum and choices and see where these courses will take you. Many high schools offer options for classes like AP (Advance Placement) courses which are a great course to pursue. You should aim to choose the AP classes that are of interest to you to show your breadth as a student. You could also take additional online courses or additional AS or A level credits. The key is to find a balance of challenging courses that will support your learning experience and show good academic performance.

Importance of Extracurricular activities

Now is the time to explore! When the college admissions office will review your application, they want to see what you have done with your time besides academics. Remember your academic grades are the primary factor in your admissions but they also want to know about your field of interests and how you have balanced your time. It’s also a great way of exploring your interests and spending your time in what you enjoy the most.

Take time to evaluate your extracurricular options. Whether it’s a school club, team or community work. High school can open doors to things you have never been exposed to like a sports team or clubs or community work. You can even start your club. When you find something you like, stick with it! Three or four-year involvement shows commitment and dedication.

Explore Summer Programs

Summer is a great time to explore your interest and reflect on your extra-curricular or academics. There are great options for summer programs that support everything from sports to academic subjects to arts. A lot of colleges offer residential programs and camps, but if you can’t go away, there are a lot of online options as well. They’re not all academic so you can explore your interest in a variety of subjects. These courses are valuable because you learn a topic of interest and you explore skills you won’t be able to during school year. It also has an added benefit of demonstrating your commitment to and passion.

Internships or working part-time is also a great way to learn on the job and also make the most of your summer experience. Colleges value time spent at a job. Internships or voluntary work experience enhance your communication skills, teamwork and time management skills.

While you are taking a vacation in a particular country you could also visit colleges and get a sense of what kind of campus and environment you like. This will help you get a sense of the schools you like and begin to formulate a preliminary college list.

As you now start looking at your college application process, make choices based on what you love – not on what you think colleges will want to see. Universities are looking for people who show commitment and passion, but the topics are up to you! There is no one thing they would like to see. So choose what you love doing and you will enjoy it and you will be able to show commitment over the years.

Your high school years are important for a lot of reasons, so make the most of them.

At Futures Abroad, Top Education consultants in UAE and India we work with students at every stage of the college admissions process. From choosing high school courses in 8th grade so that students are on track with their academics from day one, to help current high school seniors evaluate their admissions options. Now is the time for 8th, 9th, and 10th graders to get a jump start on their college prep! Contact us today to find out how can we help you build a strong college application. All the best!


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