The 40 Month Project: From High School to the Ivy Leagues

The 40 Month Project: From High School to the Ivy Leagues

40 Month Project: 9th Grade to 12th Grade Checklist

When you’re entering 9th grade, the four years till graduation can seem like a very long way off.

In reality, the time between your freshmen fall semester and your college application due dates is 40 months.

Believe us, the time flies by!

For students looking to attend top universities, these 40 months are going to be packed with a huge list of “to-dos” to accomplish. In order to be a truly competitive candidate for elite colleges, you have to gain top grades, top test scores, and have meaningful extracurricular activities, accolades, letters of recommendation, along with a compelling application essay.

There’s no way to accomplish all of these items unless you start early. Plus, most students want to actually have time left over for a life in high school: friends, experiences, and good memories.


It’s normal to quickly feel overwhelmed, behind,  and unprepared.

But all you really need is a plan!

That’s why we’ve created 4 checklists for each grade of high school that will show you how to go from high school to the Ivy Leagues! 

These checklists detail what you should accomplish each grade year if you are serious about applying to top colleges.  We’ve also included the MEK Review courses that will best help you accomplish these goals. This will help you create a plan and stay on track over the 40 months of high school. 

Remember, this is a checklist for top achievers, so always keep in mind your key priorities:

    • Grades
    • Your well-being


Grades are the most important factor for college admissions, and your well-being is the most important factor period. This plan should help eliminate stress by dividing 40 months of work more evenly across your four years of high school. You don’t want to end up stressed and overworked during your junior year.

You can read all four checklists or just focus on the checklist for your current grade:

P.S. We’ve added COVID-19 related updates for 2020/2021!

Katie Weisman

Katie Weisman is the Marketing Manager of MEK Review. She graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a Bachelor's in English. She is well-versed in test prep and academic enrichment education, and passionate about sharing resources and information that guides students toward their academic dreams. She even teaches a few of our courses!


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