Dear Underclassmen; A Guide to College

Dear Underclassmen; A Guide to College

McKenzie Zobrist

Dear underclassman,

I know high school seems like it’s just begun. You’re probably more focused on friendships and pursuing your interests. College is probably not on your mind, but if it is, great! Friendships and interests are an essential part of thinking about college, but so is getting a head start. A head start will help alleviate the stress junior and senior year.

Getting started early can look like anything from taking classes that push you to do your best and pursue your interests, to actually getting experience in the field that interests you. Whether you know what you want to do or not, you can get experience in other areas that colleges will find appealing. 

First and foremost, get your grades up. Whether you’re falling behind or holding steady, it’s time to take a look at some colleges and what their average grade point averages are. Use this as a guide to see where you want to get. Set a goal. Since you’re looking at this early, you can still get those grades up. I know school can seem tough at times– like the odds are against you, and you’re just not good at it– but it’s time to care. Show teachers you care by trying your hardest, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. It’s time to be an advocate for yourself. 

On that note, being an advocate for yourself doesn’t mean just setting goals and talking about what you’re going to do. That’s a good start, but now it’s time to set that plan in motion. There are infinite ways to do this: attending camps, getting involved with clubs, asking to shadow someone or taking an internship, taking classes that you strive in (not too easy, not too hard), making connections. The list goes on. Below I’ve included a list of opportunities Mariemont offers and that you can find on your own. 

You have a lot of time ahead of you, but it’s time to look at what you’re going to want in the long run. You will thank yourself in the future.


  • Take an online class during your study hall if something you’re interested in isn’t offered at Mariemont.
  • Sign up for the Experienship Intersession to shadow someone in a field you’re interested in during the Intercession week.
  • Find a college you’re interested in and see if they have any summer camps.
  • Consider the National Student Leadership Conference which is an opportunity to study at a college for a week the summer going into junior year. 
  • Ask teachers in subjects you’re interested in if they know of any opportunities surrounding work in that subject. 
  • Find a club or activity you enjoy and excel at it.
  • Think about the SAT and ACT. Try your best on the PSAT.
  • Consider checking out this list of enrichment programs put together by Mrs. Leszczuk. 


Your future self