Getting Ready – 9th Grade Checklist

Find a Mentor
  • Talk to someone – your parents, a teacher, a counselor, someone from church, a coach – about your desire to go to college. They can support you and help you take the steps to get there.
Classes and Tests
  • Take challenging courses, especially in the core subjects (math, English, science, and social studies).
  • At the end of the year, select 10th grade courses that will put you on track to be college- and/or career-ready.
  • Take the EXPLORE test in the 9th grade if possible.
  • Study hard. DO the best that you can do.
Career and College Prep
  • Take advantage of the online Choices program, offered through Mississippi’s public high schools. It offers a lot of useful career planning info. Good career planning leads to better college planning.
  • Think about the types of careers that interest you, and learn about the skills you’ll need to succeed in your choice career.
  • Look for job-shadowing opportunities. Or if you need to work, try to find a part-time job related to your career interest.
  • Talk to adults about what they do. Ask them, “What do you like about your job?” and “Where did you go to college?”
  • Begin the exploration process to learn about colleges in Mississippi – it’s not too early. Go to career information events. Ask employers what kind of education they expect their employees to have.
Save Money
  • If you don’t have a college savings plan, start one now.
  • Ask your parent(s) to help you learn more about financial aid.
  • Talk to your parents about Mississippi’s MACS and MPACT programs.
Out of the Classroom
  • Create a college file and put in items such as:
  • Copies of your report card
  • A list of awards and honors you received
  • A list of community organizations and clubs you join, including dates of participation and any offices you held
  • A list of paid and volunteer jobs you have held
  • Letters of recommendation from adults who know you well (not family members)
  • Participate in music, art, clubs, sports, or other activities. Extracurricular activities help you figure out what you do and don’t like. You’ll meet new people, learn new things, and develop skills in leadership and teamwork. They also make you a well-rounded person.
  • Volunteer. Volunteering is not only a wonderful way to give back to the community, but volunteering gives you an avenue for exploring different types of work environments.
  • Try to limit TV, video games, and computer time. Sounds like no fun, but your future successful self will thank you.
  • Look into summer camps and other programs held at Mississippi colleges and universities. Being on a university campus is fun, and you’ll likely learn a lot about yourself.