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How to Prepare for College in 9th Grade

A long-term goal needs a long-term plan

Ninth grade is a perfect time for students to start considering their academic and personal goals, and to begin preparing for college.

We help students explore their interests so they can develop a long-term plan for high school. Our comprehensive approach ensures they have productive, fulfilling high school experiences, ultimately making them stronger and more competitive college applicants.

9th Grade Services

Families who partner with Spark Admissions starting in 9th grade say doing so allows students ample time to explore and flourish. In turn, parents feel confident their children have the best chance to grow and succeed.

Students working with us freshman year can expect:

  • A four-year plan that aligns academic and extracurricular development;
  • Recommended courses for the remainder of high school;
  • Exploration of academic interests and personalized guidance to develop them;
  • Advice on joining or starting extracurricular activities to expand their leadership skills;
  • Assistance developing summer plans that will support their development;
  • Unique opportunities throughout the year to stimulate curiosity and grow potential;
  • Counsel on time management, study skills, learning strategies, and self-advocacy to earn the best possible grades throughout high school.
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The Spark Advantage

In addition to our grade-specific services, all students who work with Spark Admissions college consultants receive:

  • Clear goals and a roadmap for getting into their top-choice colleges;
  • A personalized, multi-year strategy for maximizing their admissions potential;
  • Help honing academic and extracurricular strengths;
  • Advice on intellectual enrichment, study skills, and academic improvement;
  • Guidance on application and essay development to ultimately submit stellar college applications;
  • A long-term relationship with a counselor who is dedicated to helping students meet their fullest potential and is readily available to answer questions.
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Flexible pricing to fit your needs

We offer four comprehensive college preparation and application packages for 9th-grade families. We’ll recommend the package that’s right for you during our initial consultation, and then we’ll work together to determine how we’ll use your hours to help your child achieve their goals.

Success Stories

Families who begin working with Spark Admissions in 9th grade can expect constant support and guidance from the moment they start until they graduate high school.


Alexandra came to Spark Admissions when she was a bright, thoughtful ninth-grader interested in STEM—particularly computer science.

As a first-generation immigrant, she would be the first in her family to attend a U.S. college. Her parents sought an experienced admissions counselor to help navigate the college process.

We immediately recognized Alexandra’s potential. However, we also knew her quiet nature would make it difficult to stand out among STEM applicants at highly competitive colleges.

What We Did

Alexandra’s Spark Admissions counselor:

  • Identified and helped her secure high-level computer science internships at Harvard and MIT;
  • Helped her cultivate leadership skills as captain of three STEM-related teams;
  • Encouraged her to step outside her comfort zone and build confidence with acting—an interest that set her apart from other STEM applicants;
  • Helped apply her computer science skills to her passion for environmental preservation via unique volunteer opportunities;
  • Counseled her on high school class selection and study habits to maintain outstanding grades;
  • Guided her in developing exceptional college applications and additional materials highlighting her high-caliber research experience.

Admissions Result

Alexandra was accepted Early Decision to Dartmouth College, her top-choice school.

*Student’s name changed for privacy


We first met Hannah during her freshman year at a private high school in the greater Boston area.

Hannah was a naturally talented student, but her family sought our guidance immediately after her sibling did not secure admission to his top-choice Ivy League university.

We worked with Hannah throughout her four years in high school to develop a stellar academic and extracurricular resume and to craft a stand-out personal narrative that would allow her to successfully earn admission to her top-choice schools.

What We Did

Hannah’s Spark Admissions counselor:

  • Helped her explore and articulate her areas of intellectual interest;
  • Identified ways to hone her leadership skills through relevant extracurricular activities;
  • Advised on class selection and study habits to help Hannah stay motivated and achieve her short- and long-term goals;
  • Suggested volunteer opportunities where she could pursue her passion for gender equality;
  • Developed a college list reflective of Hannah’s goals, interests, and personality;
  • Guided Hannah in creating a compelling personal narrative and other application materials that highlighted her personality, strengths, and interests.

Admissions Result

Hannah was accepted Single Choice Early Action to Yale University.

*Student’s name changed for privacy

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