How High School Sophomores Can Prepare for College

College is an important milestone after high school, which is why it’s never too early for high school students to start preparing. Colleges will look at all four years of grades, courses and extracurricular activities when reviewing applications, so it’s important for high school sophomores to start preparing for college in the following ways.

Choosing Courses

Since admission officers will look at all four years of transcripts, it’s important to choose courses that are challenging. If you think you already know what you will study in college, choose courses that relate to that area so you can gain a better understanding of it. You may also take related courses and change your mind about your area of interest. However, if you’re completely unsure of your future academic track, don’t fret; your sophomore year is a great time to take courses that you might be interested in to find out. Just keep in mind that all your coursework matters and the choices you make now are just as important as your junior and senior years.

College Courses

Local colleges or universities may offer courses at your school for college credit. Your sophomore year is a great time to start looking into these AP classes or signing up for them. Remember that a lower score in these classes will still show that you challenged yourself, so don’t overlook the opportunities if you are solely worried about not doing as well in them as traditional courses.

Discover your Interests

Your sophomore year is a great time to consider possible career paths. Use this year as a chance to look into possible career options and what path you would need to take to get there.

Research

It’s never too early to start researching colleges. Your sophomore year is a great time to look into your possible college choices. This will help you narrow down your focus your junior year.

Campus Visits

Your sophomore year is a great time to start visiting colleges and universities to find out possible prospects. It can also be motivating to see what your future could look like at the college(s) you visit.

Test Prep

SAT and ACT tests can be challenging; you will be tested over a large amount of material, so it’s important to be prepared. SAT and ACT prep courses and software are available. Both of these options can lead to higher test scores, resulting in a better chance of acceptance.

Extracurricular Activities

When it comes to extracurricular activities, it’s quality over quantity. It’s also important to start early. If you are involved in activities starting in your sophomore year, this will show more commitment once you are applying for colleges in your junior year. Application officers can tell when students are involved in activities for a short time just to list on their college application. Pick activities that interest you and you care about. Resist the temptation to be involved in extracurriculars just to impress.

College Materials

Sign up to receive college marketing materials from schools you think have future potential. Create a filing system with all the college materials for reference later. This system will be an important tool when it comes time to narrow down your college choices.

Read

Reading more now will not only benefit you as a college student later, but it may also impact your scores on the ACT or SAT. Reading comprehension is not something you can cram in later when prepping for these tests, so the sooner you make it a habit, the more likely it will positively impact your scores.

Scholarships

Your sophomore year is a great time to start signing up for scholarships. Fastweb.com is a great resource for student scholarships and has been around for over 15 years. It will match you to scholarships that you fit the criteria of, and the sooner you start applying for scholarships, the more of a chance you will receive money for college.

Summer Experiences

The summer of your sophomore year is a great time to be involved in summer activities that interest you and can positively impact your college applications. Find opportunities to intern at companies that interest you in fields that you may want to pursue. Not only will these experiences look great on your application, but they may also help decide if you really want to pursue a particular field. You can also use the summer to volunteer for causes that matter to you. There are plenty of opportunities if you look for organizations that need summer help.

Don’t wait until your junior year to start preparing for college. Your sophomore year is a great time to start preparing with your coursework, activities and experiencing new activities! All of this prep work could make your college choices in your junior and senior year much easier.

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