What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Parents: Helping Your 9th Grader Prepare for College


As a parent, you play an integral role in helping shape your child’s future. And while it may seem like college is a long way away for your 9th grader, in reality that future will be here before you know it. It’s crucial to figure out how you can work with your teen to stay on track over the next three years in regard to academics, career goals, and extracurriculars.


Read on for what you can do to form a successful plan of action at every time during the course of your student’s freshman year of high school, and check out CollegeVine’s Guide to 9th Grade for more advice.



Early Freshman Year

Encourage your child to challenge herself and explore her options. September and October of freshman year is an ideal time for your teen to start exploring new extracurriculars and clubs. It’s also one of the few times your child can try out something new and decide it’s not for her without many consequences, since she doesn’t need to commit to anything yet. For ideas on groups to join and activities for your 9th grader, check out How to Determine Which Clubs to Join: A Guide for Freshmen.


This is also when your child should be developing good study habits. Freshman year is the least important year academically—at least according to most colleges—but the habits your student develops now can follow her throughout high school. For more information on why academics are important now, check out Parents: Why Freshman Year GPAs Matter.



Mid Freshman Year

Around the middle of freshman year, your child may be experiencing a more challenging workload than she’s had in the past. If she seems stressed or unable to take a break and relax, however occasionally, you may need to intervene, even if she doesn’t ask you to. Check in and insist that she take breaks and take care of herself—or let you take care of her.

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This is also around the time you should start thinking about summer plans. Colleges will want to see that your child is doing something productive toward her future, even during the summer, so consider different options, such as summer programs, jobs, or other activities. Be a source of motivation for your child. Make sure you discuss goals for the rest of high school, college, and beyond.



End of the School Year

Around May and June, start thinking about the future. Sit down with your child to determine which classes to take for sophomore year. Discuss honors, AP, and other advanced courses, and develop goals for the summer and next year. Also, look at summer reading lists.



The Takeaway

Your most important role for this year is being a support system for your child. She should know she can count on you. Offer help preemptively, not just when your child asks, and if it seems like she’s struggling, step in.


Make sure you show up to parent/teacher conferences, and stay on top of your child’s accomplishments and challenges. Right now is when you’re setting the tone for the rest of high school, so you should make the roles clear, and demonstrate that you’re there to help.


Check out our other resources to help you and your freshman:


How Important Is Freshman Year of High School?

50 Clubs and Activities 9th Grades Can Join


Does your teen want access to expert college guidance — for free? When they create their free CollegeVine account, they will find out their real admissions chances, build a best-fit school list, learn how to improve their profile, and get their questions answered by experts and peers—all for free. Encourage them to sign up for their CollegeVine account today to get a boost on their college journey.

Short Bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.