Whoa, there!

Middle school checklist

Yes, we suppose it’s never too soon to start prepping for your future. At least you aren’t stockpiling ramen yet... are you?


Dude, come on. I’m in middle school.

What? College? You want me to think about college? I'm busy thinking about pimples, science fairs, and the school dance on Friday. No way I’m thinking about college yet. Right?

Well, for all you middle-schoolers who want to be extra ahead in the game, Shmoop is here to tell you...it’s great that you’re thinking about college this early, but seriously, relax. Unless you have the type of parents who have mapped out your entire life for you (and we apologize if you do), you’re a long way from having to make any binding decisions, at least about college.

That doesn’t mean you get to spend the whole year trying to score the private jet on Rock Band. There are a few steps you can take during your formative middle school years to ensure that—when the time comes— you are ready to take the college plunge.

Build yourself

Think about your interests and skills. Try a new activity.  in short, try to figure out what you’re interested in and what you’re good at. It’s perfectly fine if you have no idea what those are yet, but that isn’t a reason to not be adventurous and try new things. Grab some friends and start a t-shirt printing business. Maybe even think about what foreign language you might want to learn.

Build Your Brag Sheet. Or start thinking about it at least. Your what? Think of it this way. Now is the time to start getting involved in some activities that you could potentially carry into high school and help your eventual college application shine. Join the debate club. Win that science fair. Make an impression (a positive one) on your teachers. Or if your middle school doesn’t have these, start thinking about which subjects you like or clubs you may want to join. Why wait until high school to rock out?

During the school year

Earn the best grades you can. Are colleges going to look at your middle school grades? Nope. But earning good grades now can open up your options to take classes in high school that colleges drool over. Remember, that the classes you take in middle school provide the foundation and basic skills for what you’ll be learning in high school.


If you’re interested in what the college experience is like, check out Tasty Bits: Summer Programs for a list of summer programs that are academically enriching, allow you the opportunity to meet people with similar interests as you, and even give you the option of experiencing what college is really like.

Do something constructive with your summer. OK, so your friends might be sleeping until noon, trying to get to the next level in League of Legends, or long-boarding in the park all afternoon. But try and do something a little more constructive with your time. Learn how to code and try building a website. Or, check some books off of the Ultimate Summer Reading List. Travel to a foreign country and pick up a new language. Volunteer at the local hospital or animal shelter. The point is to look back on your summer and be proud of what you accomplished.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, you can Make a Plan with Shmoop.

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