School Counseling » Freshmen


9th Grade Key to Success

In high school, you have a lot more freedom and independence.  With freedom and independence, however, comes responsibility.  Education is not all book learning; learning to accept responsibility for your actions and choices is an important part of your high school education! 

Consider the following factors that will only make your freshman year great, but will also make your entire high school experience successful! 

1. Understand your permanent record.  During the 9th grade year you begin building your permanent record, which stays with you for the rest of your life.  Remember the following things: 

  • GPA – your GPA begins with your 9th grade year, unless you took high school courses at the middle school. (Try to keep this at least above a 3.0).
  • Class rank (Try to aim to be at least in the top 30% of your grade).
  • Transcript – your transcript is a record of your grades and credits for each course that you complete, beginning in the 9th grade unless you took high school courses at the middle school. It shows the quality of the courses you take and how well you do in them. 
  • High School Graduation Requirements: a total of 24 units of credit including English I, II, III, and IV; four units of math; three units of science, including one in which an end-of course test is administered; one unit of U.S. History; ½ unit of Government; ½ unit of Economics; one additional unit of social studies; one unit of physical education; one unit of computer science; and one unit of foreign language or occupational specialty.   
  • College admission requirements: English I, II, III, and IV; four units of math including algebra 1 and 2, geometry, and a higher-level math such as pre-calculus, algebra 3, or prob and stat; three units of lab science (typically biology, chemistry, and another), U.S. History; Government; Economics; one additional social studies; one unit of physical education; one unit of computer science; one fine art; two units of the same foreign/world languages (3 for College of Charleston); and two electives.
  • SC graduation pathway requirements
  • Uniform grading policy
  • Promotion/Retention policy
    • To be classified as a tenth grader or sophomore, a student must have earned a total of five units, including one unit in English and one unit in mathematics.
    • To be classified as an eleventh grader or junior, a student must have earned a total of 11 units, including English I and II; two units of mathematics; and one unit of science.

    • Typically, to be classified as a twelfth grader or senior, students must have earned a total of seventeen units,including English I, II, III; three credits of mathematics; and two credits of science. In addition to the above requirements, a student must be able to complete all requirements for graduation as stipulated in South Carolina Regulations by the end of the regular school year.

2. Know your school – rules, policies, and procedures. 
  • School calendar
  • Attendance and tardy policies
3. Know the testing opportunities that will come your way during high school and be prepared for them: 
  • End-of-Course tests The examinations, which count 20 percent of the student’s final grade in each gateway or benchmark course, currently include Algebra 1/Algebra 1 Part 2, English 1, U.S. History and the Constitution, and Biology 1. Ask your counselor about USA test prep to study.
  • PSAT (practice SAT) - take it in 10th and 11th grade
  • ASVAB - for the military in twelfth grade
  • ACT and SAT (college entrance exams) - take it in 11th and early 12th grade
  • ACCUPLACER for Midlands Tech in 12th grade
  • AP Exams for Advanced Placement classes to get college credit for high school classes

4. Stay organized – use your iPad, Google calendar, and PowerSchool to stay organized and manage your time.  

5. Set a destination for post-high school (work, military, Midlands Tech, or a four-year college). Look up the colleges' admissions criteria so you know what standards you have to meet. Make friends that will be climbing with you and not tempt you to settle and slide (seriously!). Setting semester and year goals about what you want to join and accomplish.  

6. Plan out:

  • The courses you will take in high school – choose them carefully.
  • Career options you may pursue after high school and how your high school choices and performance will prepare you.
  • Contact Ms. Cartledge, the career specialist to think of a future career goal. Do it now, in 9th grade. 
  • Educational options after high school. 

7. Think about the choices and decisions you make.  Every action has a reaction.  Try to think about the consequences of your actions. Be careful with social media. Assume that what you share will be shared. Screenshots happen. 

8. Get involved and have fun!  High school is like anything else – the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. 

  • Meet new people.
  • Develop your skills and talents.
  • Know the extra-curricular activities that are available and join in.
  • Get involved in volunteering. 

Join clubs and seek leadership to build a student portfolio for yourself. Start a file of accomplishments and activities to start developing your resume, which you will need in senior year).

Discuss interests and college options with your parents/guardians.

Get to know and work closely with your high school guidance counselor to select classes that are appropriate for your future plans.

Check out summer programs offered to high school students by colleges, such as:  academic camps, tennis clinics, summer honors programs, etc.  These programs are designed to improve your skills and to provide you with a valuable opportunity to spend time on a college campus.

Start looking for summer jobs that compliment the skills you have or wish to develop.  Find out about organizations needing volunteer help to expand your skills and experience.


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