College may seem far away when you are in middle school, but middle school is an integral part of your journey toward academic success. Start early by focusing on your school work, communicating well with classmates and teachers, and getting involved in after school activities.
What courses should I take?
Discover the academic requirements you should be focusing on to give you the best chance of getting into a great high school. Each year of middle school, students should be taking English, science, history/geography, math (Algebra in 8th grade), a foreign language, a computer class, and a course in the arts (visual art, music, theater).
Talk to your guidance counselor about enrolling in elective courses offered by your school. Electives in areas like the culinary arts, photography, or computer science can help you explore your interests and passions, giving you a sense of what you like (and don’t like) as you think further about what you’d like to study in college and pursue as a career.
How about after school activities?
Try out for a sports team at school, join a club you are passionate about, or volunteer in your community. Find an activity that you will be motivated to continue throughout your high school career. Click here to discover why extracurricular activities matter. Follow PhillyGoes2College on social media and check out our program directory to find no-cost afterschool or summer programs that fit your interests.
What type of learner am I?
Auditory, visual, or tactile? By discovering how you learn best, you can figure out the most effective study habits and tools for yourself. Take this online quiz to assess what type of learner you are.
Once you’ve identified your learning style, you can find study tips that suit you here. Sharing with your teacher how you learn best will help them help you!
How can I build healthy study habits?
Student success isn’t linked to how smart you naturally are — it’s linked to how hard you work. Completing homework and working on time management skills are two necessary keys to success. Learn how to take control of homework through time management and prioritizing, and use a free planner app to keep track of class assignments, test dates and extracurricular activities.
View the following link for 8 ways to take control of your time.
What do I need to know about the PSSAs?
Many competitive high schools will consider test scores when deciding whom to admit. The PSSA tests begin in March and are particularly important for middle school students.
Get online tutoring through Homework Help from the Free Library — under the section “I Would Like To” on the left, select “get homework help” from the drop-down list and log in.
Click here to read General Information about the PSSA Exams, and visit the School District website for PSSA practice questions.
How can I plan for high school?
Begin to research what type of high school you would like to attend. There are neighborhood, special admission, citywide admission, charter, and magnet schools. Learn about your options and the high school enrollment process through Great Philly Schools (they even offer high school fairs and have a calendar of high school open houses). And remember that guidance counselors (at your middle school and the high schools you’re interested in going to) are always there to help.
- The School District’s profiles for specific Philly high schools.
- Overview and important dates for applying to district schools.