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  • Swati Chopra

4 Years to College

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to do a presentation for our local middle school. The presentation was titled '4 Years to College' and was aimed at 8th grade parents to help them prepare for the upcoming high school years.

I'm so grateful to the Fallon Middle School administration for helping to set up this evening. It's always fun to meet new parents and get a chance to interact with younger students getting ready to head into high school.

The presentation was an hour long and briefly covered topics from high school graduation requirements to AP classes and SATs. We also covered UC (University of California) and CSU (California State Universities) admission requirements.

While it's true that 8th grade is probably too early for college counseling, it's never too late for academic counseling or to start planning for the next few years. This is the perfect time for student athletes to up their game and get ready for high school try-outs. It's also a great time to delve deeper into your extracurricular activities, whether it's playing the piano or attending debate or robotics camp. The summer between 8th and 9th grade is well spent doing these activities and getting ready for high school competitions.

Volunteering is also another good choice and should definitely be on your list. You'll have the most fun volunteering when you find an organization that shares the same interests as you. Volunteering should be about doing something you love to do. Always make sure you keep a volunteering log and get your hours signed by your supervisor. You might never need it, but it's hard to go back and get offical signatures after a year has passed. And simply put, it's hard to remember all the activities you've done in high school by the time you're a senior.

But the main thing to remember before you enter high school is to enjoy your summer. Take part in camps and classes that excite you but also take out time to read your favorite books or take up a new hobby. As the years pass, time will go faster and chances are you will get busy with jobs, internships and/or volunteering, all this while taking summer classes or studying for SATs and other tests.

When you start 9th grade, take time to join a few clubs or committees and give yourself time to transition into high school. Take part in school events or maybe go watch a home game. Sometimes just being a part of a small club is all you need to feel like you belong.

Sure, there's a lot going on at your high school, but if you look hard enough, you will find an activity that truly speaks to you.


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