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5 tips for college-bound 9th graders: What parents must know

School is back in session!

The transition from middle school to high school is a critical point in your teen’s educational journey. 9th graders are part of a new community, and their teachers, school counselor, and administrators are there to help them explore this new journey!

As a parent, you may notice some of the emotional ups and downs that come with navigating a new school, making new friends, learning from new teachers, balancing new time and academic demands. I have been there with my own teens and go through it each year with my students . . . in other words, “I feel you”.

Freshmen may not understand the importance of 9th grade in the overall college admissions process yet, but it doesn’t hurt for parents to be informed. Parents can be helpful to their college-bound freshman without “taking over” or being accused of helicoptering. Here are my top 5 tips that parents can follow and still look good.

  1. Start a file of important papers such as test scores, report cards, articles, scholarship opportunities, etc. Although you are starting the file, please remember to give it to your teen well before junior year so that they can be accountable for tracking their progress.cornell campus


  1. Set aside time to meet with your 9th grader to develop their 4-year course plan. Mapping their courses for each year of high school will challenge them to set realistic goals and balance academic rigor with interests. Sign up for our monthly freshman roadmap and you will receive our Compass ReadiGuide for Course Planning.


  1. Emphasize the importance of building positive relationships with ALL of their teachers. Your teen will need teacher recommendations for summer programs, scholarships, and college applications. A challenging goal for your 9th grader may be to meet with 1-2 teachers each month. Taking these consistent small steps can lead to a positive relationship where your teen gets to know the teacher and the teacher gets to know your teen.


  1. Encourage your 9th grader to schedule a meeting with their school counselor. School counselors may have interest/career inventories, ACT/SAT practice tests, as well as information about summer programs or scholarships.


  1. Assist your 9th grader in finding fun and interesting ways to volunteer. Volunteering in the community provides an opportunity to develop a sense of care for others, learn your capabilities, broaden experiences, and grow interpersonal skills.


This brief checklist highlights what parents can do this school year. However, if you’re a busy parent like me, you may not remember these tips in winter. Perhaps a regular “check-in” reminder would help you stay on top. . .

What other tips for 9th-grade success would you suggest? Please post in comments below.

About This Blog

This blog is valued by busy parents of college-bound teens. The topics covered in these posts are mined from years of listening to parents talk about their dreams for their children’s education.

This blog is written from the heart… as it’s my passion and life calling!

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