Guide Freshmen Through the Next Four Years

As a college counselor, you can play a pivotal role in keeping your students grounded and focused on their future early on. This post and next, I'll be discussing just a few of the many ways you can help your freshmen make the most of their vital but fleeting high school years.

Each fall, the high school population is once again flooded with a new group of anxious and eager freshmen. They’ll come to you in any number of guises, with all manner of priorities. The doe-eyed girl with her heart set on the varsity quarterback, the bookish wallflower secretly daydreaming of sixth grade’s quiet predictability, or the math whiz with plausible Ivy League aspirations. But they all have one thing in common: the next four years are going to go by more quickly than any of them expect.

As a college counselor, you can play a pivotal role in keeping your students grounded and focused on their future early on. This week and next, I’ll be discussing just a few of the many ways you can help your freshmen make the most of their vital but fleeting high school years.

1. Get to Know Them

Foster an open line of communication with your freshmen. Depending on your position, you might be working with them throughout their high school careers, so set up tentative times for regular tête-à-têtes, perhaps once a semester. If your freshmen will be working with multiple college counselors over time, you can at least have a discussion about their collegiate goals and help them lay the groundwork to attain them.

2. Promote Relationships

Convey to your freshmen the importance of developing relationships with teachers, church and volunteer group leaders, and other mentors. They can start by actively participating in class discussions and after-school opportunities to establish rapport with their teachers. In general, they should take advantage of any chances they have to work in close proximity to the influential people in their lives. When they begin the college application process, they’ll need to come back to them to garner recommendations.

3. Emphasize the Importance of Class Selections and Grades

With college an infinitely distant four years away--a veritable lifetime when you’re all of 14--it can be difficult for freshmen to understand that their actions today will have repercussions tomorrow. Discuss which AP courses they might be interested in and which electives will help make them well-rounded college applicants with glowing transcripts. Remind them that their grades from all four years are going to show up on those transcripts and figure into their GPAs, so every class, every assignment, and every exam should be taken seriously.

4. Pencil It In

Create a four-year calendar that will give freshmen a better understanding of the goals and deadlines they’ll be juggling throughout high school. Having a visual timeline to look at will help them realize that college entrance exams and initial application deadlines really aren’t all that far away.

5. Get Them Involved

Extracurricular involvement is an invaluable addition to a college application, so students should start choosing constructive extracurricular activities as soon as possible. Consistency with a particular activity can help a student stand out by demonstrating his or her ability to work at something diligently over time. For example, a student interested in writing might take journalism classes (if available) and write for the school’s newspaper with the goal of becoming its editor in his or her senior year. Sticking with a sport can benefit students hoping to secure athletic scholarships. And joining clubs and other organizations is a great way to bolster a student resume. Help your freshmen by discussing their prospective major and career aspirations and suggest which extracurricular activities might give them a leg up in those areas.

Next time: Five more ideas to help get your freshmen thinking about college.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:
class schedules college counselors counselors extracurriculars freshmen grades high school networking ninth grade recommendations transcripts

About Stephanie Farah

Stephanie Farah

Stephanie is a former writer and senior editor for Carnegie Darlet and CollegeXpress. Stephanie holds a BA in English from the University of Texas at Austin and a master's in Journalism from the University of North Texas. At various times she has been: an uncertain undergrad, a financial aid recipient, a transfer applicant, and a grad student with an assistantship and a full ride. Stephanie is an avid writer, traveler, cook, and dog owner. 

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Khush

Khush

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress is a multi-maneuver platform that has been helping students in their college applications and scholarship hunt process. For me, CollegeXpress has been a boon. I've been able to find my dream university via CX, and I've also been able to apply to thousands of scholarships through it. All the thanks to CollegeXpress for doing such a great job for free. I express my sincere gratitude to you for doing such a wonderful job. I recommend CollegeXpress without any reservations.

Courtney Smith

Courtney Smith

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has been a huge help! The website is very organized with finding the right scholarship for anyone and anything. With CollegeXpress, I've been able to find many scholarship opportunities to apply for. Not only that, I'm also able to search for the colleges I have interest in and see what’s required and what scholarships they offer. I've learned a lot from CollegeXpress. They've helped me in many ways to achieve my goals!

Jenna

Jenna

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me greatly during my college search. I used their college search feature often and it helped in comparing schools I was looking at. Now that I’ve found a college the scholarship search feature is helping me find a way to find my college experience. CollegeXpress has many helpful features and resources for anyones college search, it truly is a wonderful tool for anyone entering college level!

Josiah Kegg

Josiah Kegg

High School Class of 2021

I want to sincerely thank you all for this amazing website that's legitimately helped me find so many different scholarship opportunities. I've been stressing out for the longest time about paying for college since I would rather stay out of debt and have been working days trying to find any scholarship opportunity. When I found CollegeXpress, I discovered many easy scholarships that have given me hope for the future. Thank you and God bless!

Kyla McClain

Kyla McClain

High School Class of 2024

I found CollegeXpress when you partnered with Bold.org for a scholarship. I found your website, put my information in, and got connected. I only wanted to stay in North Carolina [for college] and not move far from home, but you all opened a door up for me. I started researching colleges you suggested for me. On your social media platforms, you also give really good test-taking tips that I used and suggested others to do the same. It helped me a lot on my exams, so thank you.

College Matches