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Preparing for College: Sophomore Year

College and University Blog - Resources, help, and insight for your college experience

There are steps you can take during your sophomore year of high school to prepare for college. A lot of the actions you should take this year are similar, if not identical, to the steps you took as a high school freshman. The following will help you further prepare for college:

  • Take a challenging courseload. If you are interested in a science major or a career in science, take numerous courses in those areas. Be aware of pre-requisites for classes you may need to take in order to qualify for classes your junior and senior year.
  • Continue meeting with your school guidance counselor to discuss your college plans. Review your schedule with him or her to confirm you’re enrolled in classes that will help you prepare for college. Colleges prefer four years of English, history, math, science, and a foreign language. Your counselor can help you prepare for college during your entire high school career. Discuss your progress with them –they are a valuable resource.
  • Continue to join clubs and activities that interest you – get more involved with your extracurricular activities. Consider taking a leadership role in one of the clubs or activities you are involved in. Leadership skills and experience are great adders to your college application. Colleges pay attention to your life both inside and outside the classroom. Your academics come first, but your activities reveal a great deal about you. Colleges can see how you’ve made a contribution to something, what your non-academic interests are, whether you can maintain a commitment, whether you can manage your time, and what diversity you’d bring to the student body. Some students need to work. Colleges understand that this. If this is your situation, you will have a chance to explain your circumstances and talk about the skills you’ve gained from working when you apply to college.
  • Continue to build relationships with teachers, counselors and activity supervisors. This will help you obtain recommendations for college later.
  • Research how much money you’ll need for college, whether you’ve saved enough, and what you need to do to pay for school. Talk to your parents about how you will pay for college. Research possible scholarship opportunities. Knowing what scholarships you are eligible for will save you time in the long run.
  • Continue to apply for jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities. These activities can be done during the school year, during breaks, or during the summer. If you are fortunate enough to find a position related to your academic interests, you can see first hand whether it is a good fit.
  • Continue to go to college fairs in your area. These are great places to get information about several schools at one time. College representatives will be available to answer your questions.
  • Learn about how financial aid.
  • Visit even more colleges while they’re in session. You will be able to see what daily life is like and to talk to students already attending the college. See if you could spend a weekend with any friends or relatives that are attending school. While academics are very important, you will also want to know about life outside of the classroom.
  • Ask your college friends questions when they are home for the weekend, break, or the holidays.
  • Look into participating in summer enrichment programs offered by various organizations and colleges. This can also be an opportunity to spend time at a college you may be interested in attending. These programs can be costly, but may offer financial assistance.
  • Continue reading from the summer reading list you started last year. Ask your teachers to recommend even more books. Read as much as you can, and read a variety of materials. Reading builds your vocabulary and strengthens your writing skills.
  • Take the PSAT in the fall. This test can hook you into opportunities. Check “yes” in the box that allows other organizations to contact you. This allows scholarship programs, summer programs, and colleges to contact you with additional information. The PSAT is required to qualify for some opportunities, such as the National Merit Scholarship program. Taking the PSAT will give you a feel for how to approach the SAT. Financial assistance is not generally offered for the PSAT, but these tests can be a worthwhile investment. Your guidance counselor can provide information about the PSAT, such as when the test will be held.
  • Talk to your counselor and teachers about taking SAT Subject Tests™ this spring. Take Subject Tests such as World History, Biology, and Chemistry while the material is still fresh in your mind.
  • Prepare for the SAT exam the summer after your sophomore year. Taking the PSAT will help to prepare you for the SAT. There are numerous study guides available for self-directed study. Consider starting a study group with others who are taking the SAT exam.

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