College Center » 9th Grade College Planning

9th Grade College Planning

Welcome to your first year of high school! How to utilize the college center
The college center provides additional support in college preparation and ultimately will help guide you through the college application process. As you meet with your counselor throughout the next four years, we also encourage you to get to know us, your College Peer Counselor and attend in-person or virtual college and career grade-level events.
Here's what to expect: 
The college center is located in the ORANGE BLDG on the 2nd level next to the library. The College Center is open during nutrition and lunch for student drop ins. While the seniors and juniors might have priority on individual meetings, you can still get resources, help, and ask questions throughout the week.
College Events including night events, coffee with the counselors, College Peer Counselor meetings and assistance and lunch workshops for students.
Parents/guardians can join us for coffee with the counselors to get to know all things going on in the counseling department!
Getting to Know Colleges
It is important that you take time to reflect on the things you want in a college that will support you, challenge you, interest you, have the academic interests, and more. The BEST part about being in 9th grade, is that you have TIME to get to know colleges, explore different campuses and gain a sense of what your interests are.  

What does your dream school have? Think about components of a campus that are important to you and will allow you to thrive within that environment. Once you have your list of interests/values/wants/needs, you'll be able to use the search tools below to help you find colleges that have the components on your list.


  • Academics: What type of learning suits you best? Small-discussion based, interdisciplinary, etc. What type of academic environment do you want, academically challenging and/or competitive. What type of academic support do you need (math center, tutoring labs, support services for learning disabilities, etc.)
  • Social: Think about the types of activities your future friends and you will be doing on campus (growing your own sustainable farm for local food, going to football games, checking out art museums or local bands) How BIG or SMALL is the campus?
  • Extras: Again, start with dreaming. What type of ethos does your college have? Ethos is the heart, mission and drive of a college campus. So what would your ethos have? Sustainability, community impact, research and higher thinking, challenging academic boundaries, social justice, etc.
  • Environment: What do your actual surroundings look like? Are you in the heart of a big city, do you have access to a city but are a bit more removed. Are you at a smaller campus in the Pacific Northwest nestled in a quieter town?
While our college rep visits in the fall are designated for Juniors and Seniors only, it is suggested that you attend and listen to virtual college presentations---(even if it's just 2 or 3) and begin listening to the presentations! You'll not only find out more of what you want, but also hear how admission decisions are made - a win win!
College Admission Representative Visits
Every fall typically scheduled between September - November. OPEN to 11th & 12th grade ONLY
College admission representative visits are one of the BEST ways to get to know a university directly from the people who will be reading your applications and making decisions! Yep, these are the people who read the apps, who know what majors are offered, what specialty programs you might be interested in, what amenities are on and off campus, they can give you tips on your applications, like when to apply and what they look for, and more! Best of all, they sign up to come to LACES so you get a private, small group presentation and chat right at school without competing with a bunch of other schools beginning Junior year. 
College Admission Testing
All freshman will have access to a PSAT in the fall semester. You will take another PSAT in spring sophomore year and again in the fall of junior year. As a freshman, testing is purely practice! The BEST way to prepare for college is to focus on your classes and build a solid academic foundation for your future. You do NOT need to begin test preparation or taking an official SAT or ACT until junior year. So get to know your teachers and your classes and find study habits and strategies that work best for YOU.
Remember, grades, GPA, and your academic schedule is important!! 
Testing is ONE component of your college application. It can be an added value to showcase your academic strengths and potential for success in college. Your day in day out course work and effort in your classes are the biggest component of the academic review in an application. Not JUST your GPA, but how you've grown over time, consistency or growth in grades, adding honors/AP/advanced coursework in academic areas of strength, etc. Take the time to do well in classes. 
PSAT 8/9 for all freshman
October 17, 2023
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