Prepare for College as a High School Sophomore

Last updated on November 15, 2017

College may seem far off when you are only in tenth grade. However, as any college student can tell you—the next few years are going to fly. Besides, this is the time to lock in the good study skills and habits needed for high school achievement and college success.

You can lend valuable support all year long.

FALL

Get Organized

Purchase a planner in which you can keep track of assignments, activities and events. At the same time, start a college planning calendar to record important dates.

Academics

Make sure you meet with a counselor to discuss college plans and build a course plan that ensures that you fulfill the minimum requirements for college admission.

You should enroll in challenging courses, such as honors or Advanced Placement. Also, colleges want four years of English, history, math, science and a foreign language.

If you are showing weakness in any area, now’s the time to consider a tutor or extra help. Courses will only get harder, and sophomore year is when many students fall behind—and never catch up.

Testing

Practice makes perfect! College entrance exam scores won’t count for admission until next year, but you can sign up to take the PSAT, the PLAN (which is practice for the ACT) and SAT subject tests for practice.

When scores become available, you can see areas for improvement. You should also be reading books and newspapers outside of class to develop reading comprehension and vocabulary skills.

FALL-WINTER

Research Colleges

Go online together to start collecting college information. Suggest the search be kept broad at first, considering lots of colleges and different locations. Gradually a picture of what you want will start to emerge.

WINTER-SPRING

Narrow the Search

Suggest narrowing the search to about a dozen schools and contacting them for more information.

Careers

Talk with your parents about possible careers that match your interests and strengths. Perhaps your dad has his professional network to tap, with colleagues you can shadow at work.

Talk with neighbors, friends and community members about your lines of work. Most importantly, try to think with an open mind to make the best decision.

Summer Jobs and Programs

Start thinking of how to make the most of summer with a volunteer service program, a part-time job connected to a future career, classes at a local college or a community arts program.

A little research should yield lots of opportunities for deeper knowledge and personal development—plus a possible credential for college.