In order to be optimally prepared when it’s time to begin applying to prospective colleges (fall-winter of your senior year), it helps to know that you’ve been thorough in your planning. The following is a list of things to be stressed in each year of high school in order to have that assurance:

Summer before freshman year: If there are any deficiency areas – for example struggles with math, fears of foreign language study or lagging some in reading level – this is the perfect time to address such issues. Enrollment in summer school or in a tutoring program for weak subjects is a great idea for a strong start in high school. Costs can be controlled if you have a neighbor or friend who is a strong upper level high school student who might welcome work as a tutor.

Freshman Year

  • Enroll in core classes that meet the Colorado HEAR requirements for graduation and college eligibility (;
  • Explore several extracurricular activities for fun and to develop and expand yourself;
  • Visit a college campus with your family or through a program at your school – begin thinking about college as an aspect of your future, and the type of school you might wish to attend.
  • Again, hit any deficiency areas during summer months before 10th grade when you have the time to really dig deep and improve academic skills.

Sophomore Year:

  • Continue core classes following HEAR guidelines;
  • Identify one or two extracurriculars (clubs, sports, volunteer programs) that you will maintain throughout your remaining high school enrollment. Colleges are more impressed by depth of involvement over a wide breadth of dabbling in random activities;
  • Prepare for and take the PSAT as a trial run for future testing, and to qualify for National Merit scholarships.

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