Make a Plan An ancient phrase reminds us that, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." But no matter how unsure you feel taking that first step, every single one after that will be a little easier.Having a map and making a plan can help along the way. Use the following timelines to create your own path life after middle and high school.During Middle SchoolFigure out what you want to do.Start thinking about your future and career possibilities.Explore different occupations that match your interests.Keep your options open.Use time outside of school wisely.Get help when it's needed.Do your best in class.Take control learn to be a good student.Get off to a good start! Study hard, turn in all assignments, and do your best to earn good grades.Review your academic strengths and weaknesses. Talk with friends and family about careers and possible college choices.Get to know your teachers.Read, read, read!Talk to me about:Going to a college or university or employment goals you have after high schoolCollege-track courses to start taking in middle school.The importance colleges and universities place on grades, and at what year will your school grades start to matter in the admissions process.College preparatory, AP, and other honors-level courses you should be taking in high school (9th through 12th grade).Academic enrichment programs (including summer and weekend programs) available through your school or local colleges.Pursuing extracurricular activities (such as sports, performing arts, volunteer work, or other activities that interest you).Other top tips:Take advantage of every opportunity to participate in enrichment activities.Visit a local college campus.