Take Challenging Courses
Do you know what colleges are looking for on a high school transcript? The #1 thing they want to see is success with rigorous coursework. Colleges (and future employers too) want to know that you took on a challenge, stuck with it, and finished what you started - that you were determined. Determination is something people respect and value.
Challenging courses in middle school include Pre-AP courses and Gifted & Talented (GT) courses. These courses are very important in the middle school setting as they prepare you for greater challenges in high school. Challenging courses in high school include Pre-AP, GT, dual-credit and/or Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
If you are not taking Pre-AP courses in middle school, get ready! Show that you have a good work ethic, want a challenge, and do what it takes to get A's. Check out the Advanced Academics pages for more information or see Ms. Lupton.
Explore Your Interests
Remember that colleges want to see you have a passionate commitment to a few extracurricular activities and dedicated development of those interests. Middle school is a time to explore those interests and figure out upon what you really want to focus. Is it art, dance, or choir? Perhaps you love a particular sport or play a musical instrument. There are many options. Explore them!
As you approach your high school years, choose two or three interests, work hard at them, and stick with them. You will earn the pride that comes with mastering your art and will learn valuable lessons in teamwork and perseverance. Maybe most importantly you will really own something you love to do.
Serve and Lead
Be someone who is willing to accept the responsibility of leadership. Leadership is about accepting additional responsibility, following through on your promises, and being someone others trust to make good decisions. You can show leadership in your academic courses, extracurricular activities, and community service. Volunteer to be a club or organization officer. Work to become the captain of your athletic team or school band. These are a few ways you can show leadership.
Also be someone who serves your community in meaningful ways. Find one or two community needs that you care about and take action. You might volunteer at a local food pantry, tutor younger students in an after-school program, visit a nursing home, or volunteer at the public library. You could also get involved with activities sponsored by organizations like the American Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society, or Keep Grand Prairie Beautiful. These are just a few ways you could serve your community. Make it something you are passionate about and commit to it over time.
Service and leadership go together. If you look for ways to accept responsibility and serve others, you will become a leader. If you lead others with service in mind, those you lead will recognize and respect your leadership.