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Freshman Four-Year Plan

The first step in a high school freshman’s career is making a plan to graduate. Please review Ames High School’s Graduation Requirements.

Keeping graduation in mind, we know that in any given year, approximately 70% of our graduating seniors go on to attend four-year colleges or universities, approximately 20% will go on to two-year community colleges, and approximately 10% will go directly to work or the military.

We stress several points to help our ninth grade students make choices that will open doors for the post-secondary opportunities that suit their goals and dreams after they graduate from Ames High School.

Grade point averages count.

Ninth grade is the first year a student’s GP’s count on the official transcript. The best time to establish a GPA is during ninth and 10th grade. During 11th and 12th grade, a good grade or a bad grade in an individual class will have much less of an impact on overall GPA than during the freshman and sophomore years.

Course selection affects ACT and SAT scores and early success in college.

Course selection will have an impact on both ACT/SAT scores and the level of success most of our students can expect their first year in college. We encourage parents and students to read, “Building your Future,”  a publication by Iowa’s Regent institutions outlining minimum course requirements for entrance into Iowa State University,  University of Northern Iowa, and  University of Iowa.

Choose the most difficult course level in which you can be successful.

One of the questions students ask counselors most frequently is, “Which is better, to take the higher level of a course, such as AP History and maybe get a lower grade— or take the lower level course , such as regular History, and get a higher grade?” The answer is both difficult and simple.  Balance is important. Generally speaking, the lower a student’s GPA, the higher the student will have to score on the ACT/SAT to be considered for admission to a college or university. A low ACT/SAT score will have to be offset by a very strong GPA.

Get to know the ACT Standards for Transition.

Written in chart form, this document tells students what they will need to master in order to fall within an optimal score range on the ACT.

As a visual reminder, we’ve posted the chart in Student services, in the English hallway and reproduced it in the Ames High School Registration Booklet.

As always, counselors are available to work with students and parents. Please contact us if you have questions.

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