Get involved! Colleges want to see students who are not only strong academically but who are passionate about extracurricular interests and give back to the community. If you haven’t already, sign up for a few extracurricular activities at school and find ways to get involved in your community through your church, youth group, or other organization. But just remember: the quality of your involvement is more important than quantity. Join the clubs and activities you really care about. You’ll find it much more fun and easy to invest your time and energy in them if you do.
Take your school work seriously. Most colleges look at potential students' grades from freshman to senior year, so if you've slacked off a little (or more than a little) in the past, this is the time to make some changes. You'll also need more self-discipline as you go through each year of high school—and even more in college. So you’ll be helping your future self out if you start developing good study habits now. Beyond that, trying your hardest in your high school classes is also really good preparation for any standardized college admission tests you might take in the future. But we’ll get to those in a minute…
Start developing good time management skills. As mentioned above, academic success takes a lot of self-discipline. Four years from now, when you arrive at college, you'll be responsible for your own schedule, meeting assignment deadlines, and fitting in all of your obligations. The more practice you get with managing your time wisely, the better.
Take advanced courses if you can. Some high schools don't offer weighted classes before junior year, but if your school does, take advantage of them. Challenging yourself as a freshman (and beyond) is good!