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Are you interested in science, technology, engineering, and math? Would you like to learn more about opportunities offered in these subjects? If so, you may be interested in the BLAST program. It is a FREE 3 day program, and selected participants can choose whether to attend the program at Virgina Tech or the University of Virginia. For more information please visit the following website: 

Freshman Year: College Planning for the Ninth Grade

This is an extremely important year because you are laying the foundation for your entire high school career.  This is a time to establish your academic and extracurricular credentials.  You should also begin to explore options for your career or further education. 


  1. Meet your school counselor.  Your counselor is ready and willing to help you make sense of your college and career options.  As soon as you can, set up a meeting to talk about your plans for high school and the future.
  2. Get involved!  Extracurricular activities (both school- and non-school-sponsored) are an important part of high school.  Make the effort to get involved with groups, clubs, or teams that interest you.  These activities are fun and make you a well-rounded student. 
  3. Pick the right mix of classes.  Make sure you are enrolled in the appropriate college-prep or tech-prep classes and that you’re taking key core requirements, such as English, math, science, history, and a foreign language.


  1. Make the grade.  Get off to a good start with your grades because they will impact your GPA and college rank.  Although college seems like a long way off right now, grades really do count toward college admission and scholarships.
  2. Explore your interests and possible careers.  Discuss your skills and interests with your school counselor and take advantage of Career Day opportunities at your school.
  3. Consider a college savings plan.  Talk to your parents about planning for college expenses.  If your family already has a savings plan, continue to add to it.  If not, now is a great time to start saving for college.


  1. Build your credentials.  Keep track of academic and extracurricular awards, community service achievements, and anything else you participate in, so it’ll be easier to remember later.  It’ll come in handy when you want to highlight your accomplishments – such as when you’re filling out college applications or creating a resume.
  2. Start learning about college.  Look at the college information available in your school counselor’s office and the school library.  Use the internet to check out college websites and view college profiles.  You may even want to start making a list of colleges that interest you.
  3. Make summer count.  There are plenty of ways to have fun and build  your credentials during the summer, such as volunteering, getting a job, or signing up for an enrichment program (like Governor’s school).
  4. Read, read read!!!

Timeline adapted from