Resources to Help Sophomores Get Started With College Planning
Junior year is right around the corner, so now is the perfect time for high school sophomores to start thinking about their college plans and what they need to do now in order to prepare for the admissions process.
It might seem a little early to some to start planning for college sophomore year of high school, but the truth is colleges will look at all four years of grades, courses, activities, and more when evaluating college applications. Sophomores only have one more semester before their college prep really picks up junior year, so now is the time to take those first steps toward developing a solid college prep plan.
There are a number of things that sophomores can do now to prepare, that are simple and won’t cause too much college prep stress too early. By taking these small steps, sophomores can get ahead of the college prep anxiety that can build up going into junior year.
Here are 16 college prep resources to help high school sophomores prepare for the college admissions process.
Are you taking the right classes? The most important thing that colleges look at when evaluating applicants is the transcript. They want to see students taking challenging courses in their areas of interest, and performing well in them. Now is the time to look at the classes you’re taking and make adjustments if possible, especially as you start choosing classes for junior year.
If you’re interested in STEM, plan to take whatever science and math classes available to you, including honors, AP, and IB courses.
This is a critical time to make sure you’re in the right track academically, as colleges will look at all four years of classes and grades.
- Choosing the Right Classes: Importance of Course Rigor When Applying to College
- 5 Tips for Choosing High School Classes
- Grades: How to Identify Problems and When to Ask for Help
- The Benefits of Summer Courses
Exploring Your Interests
Hopefully you started exploring some areas of interest freshman year, but if not, now is the time to get serious about focusing and developing your interests. Try out some classes, clubs, or activities that are related to an area of study you want to learn more about. Read books and other publications that cover that area of interest.
- Why Your Interests Matter in the College Admissions Process
- Building a Well-Rounded Class: Why Colleges Want Specialists
- How to Identify and Focus Your Interests
- 5 Questions to Help Students Prioritize Passions and Interests
- Developing Your Interests: Kickstarting Your Own Blog
Quality is valued over quantity when it comes to extracurricular activities, so as you’re exploring your interests, evaluate other activities you’re doing. What activities are you currently involved in that you enjoy? Which activities do you not enjoy? Start cutting out the clubs and activities that you’re not particularly passionate about, especially if it’s something you picked up because you thought it would “look good” on your college application. The truth is, colleges want to see students involved in extracurriculrs they like and are making an impact in – not activities that you picked up to look impressive. They can see through it.
- What Colleges Look for in a Student’s Activities List
- The Truth About Extracurricular Activities: Going the Extra Mile
- The Value of Community Service in Your College Application
- Community Service Tips for Freshmen and Sophomores: How to Get Involved
In addition to how you spend your time outside of the classroom during the school year, colleges will also look at how you spent your summer. Now is the time to start thinking about your summer plans. Will you have a job? Will you find an internship? Maybe you want to try a university-sponsored summer program. Start exploring your options now. Research summer programs that match your interests. Reach out to people in your community that have jobs related to your interests. Do they have any internship opportunities available? Planning a productive summer will not only help you stand out when applying to college but it will also help you better focus your interests so you can set clear goals for the next school year.
- Why Students Should Get a Head Start Planning Summer Activities
- College Prep 101: How to Utilize Summer Experiences to Stand Out
- Summer Activity Planning: How to Make the Most of Your Break
- How to Find a Great-Fit Internship
- Finding Summer Internships that Match Your Interests
- The Truth About Planning a Productive Summer
- Summer Activity Ideas for High School Students
There are a number of things that high school sophomores can be doing now to prepare for the college admissions process. Simple steps like evaluating your courses, activities, and summer plans can set you on the right path toward your college plans well ahead of time.
Need more help with your college planning? Download our free college planning checklist for additional guidance on what you should be doing sophomore year to prepare for the college admissions process.