Headed to High School?

Getting Ready for Ninth Grade

Freshman Year is the Most Important Year of High School

Getting off to a good start in high school is the most important thing a student can do! Your freshman year is also a chance for a fresh start! The ninth grade year is often called the "make-it-or-break-it" year. A solid freshman year is the foundation for the next three years of high school, and will set the stage for whether you graduate and whether you are ready for college and career.
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The Tassel is Worth the Hassle!

So What Can You Do Now to Prepare for Ninth Grade?

Developing strong study skills is one of the best ways to ensure a successful high school career. If you need some help in this area, it's not too late to make some changes! Here are a few good tips to help you study smarter:


  • Process information each day - Don't wait until the night before the test to start studying! Review notes daily!!
  • Create a distraction-free study environment! Have all of your study supplies with you when you sit down to study. Turn off your cell phone so you can focus on your task.
  • Try to study in the same place at the same time each day. This helps to establish a good work habit - Let your friends know what time you study, so they won't be a distraction.
  • Take advantage of any 'extra time' during class to complete homework or review notes for a class.
  • Take notes and keep them organized and labeled. (See Cornell Note Taking Tips link below).
  • Ask for help as soon as you realize you don't understand!
  • Create a study group or study with a buddy.
  • USE A STUDENT PLANNER to record all assignments, tests and deadlines!

Choosing Your Courses for Ninth Grade?

Course selection for high school is very important! As you design your '4 Year Plan,' be sure to keep the end in mind. Many high school courses require a prerequisite, a class that you must complete before enrolling in the next level. You will need to be sure that you have planned to take the correct courses to reach your senior course goals. Your school counselor can help you and your parents make those course selections if you have questions.


  • Challenge yourself! Consider enrolling in honors classes - Most of these courses demand more extensive reading and writing, additional projects and move at an accelerated pace. (Some honors courses have academic requirements in order to enroll.)
  • Understand your time limitations with your extra-curricular activities. If you are involved in several school activities (sports, clubs, band, etc), your time will need to be managed well in order to keep up with your classwork and homework.
  • In ninth grade, you won't have many elective course choices, but during registration, be sure to include a couple of alternate electives in the event you do not get your first choice.
  • If classes were recommended for you based on testing data/grades, you should strongly consider those recommendations before waiving into a higher level course. Feel free to speak to your teacher or counselor if you need help with this decision.

Advice from Seniors to Incoming Freshmen (aka What I Wish I'd Known My 9th Grade Year)

  • Introduce yourself to people you don't know.
  • Stay organized! It makes everything much easier.
  • Be careful about peer pressure.
  • Work hard in school because in the end it does pay off, and you'll never regret it.
  • Develp good time management skills (very important if you want a social life); remember that school is very important, and make it a priority!
  • You have a fresh start in 9th grade! You can never go back and make a good impression if you blow it the first time.
  • Enjoy your time in high school! Get involved. Study! Take ACT Prep classes and apply for scholarships!
  • Be happy with who you are! Don't force yourself to be part of the 'in' crowd. They may be 'in' today, but they'll probably be 'out' tomorrow.