College Action Plan for H.S. Sophomore

Congratulations!  Your first year of high school is officially over.  Now it’s time to hit the books once again.  As you further your studies, you can continue to keep up to date with your college preparation.

In fact, unlike your freshman year, you can really start digging your heels in and making some decisions regarding your top college choices, standardized testing, and financial aid.  Take a look at the following 9 steps that you can take to prepare for college during your sophomore year.

1.  Become a Leader

Leadership Role In Club/Student Organization – Leadership is another key attribute that admissions committees like to see in college applicants.  Whether you’re a committee member or club president, your efforts to lead your classmates will not go unnoticed by the admissions committee.

Think Outside The Box – If you organized a clothing drive for your classmates or started a petition for a noteworthy cause, don’t be afraid to list these as leadership roles on your college applications.

2.  Build and Maintain Relationships

Why Is This Important? – Most college or scholarship applications require letters of recommendations.  Having great letters of recommendation will boost your college admission and scholarship award chances.  You will only receive great letters of recommendations if you take time to build solid relationships with those around you.

3.  Continue Your College Research

Which College Is For You? – After doing some research last year, you’ve probably realized that there are tons of colleges out there.  There are so many things to consider when selecting a college.  Take some time this year to do a little more research and answer the following questions:

    • Would you prefer to attend a large state university or a small college?
    • Do you want to live at home or in the dorms?
    • Do you want to go to school far away or close to home?
    • How selective of a school would you like to go to?
    • How much can you spend on a college education?

Develop a Preliminary List of Colleges – Now that you’ve done some more in-depth college research, take a shot at putting together a preliminary list of 8-10 colleges that seem interesting to you.

4.  Attend College Fairs

What’s a College Fair? – A college fair is an event where students can meet college representatives from different colleges and universities and obtain information like brochures, applications, financial aid information, etc.

Where Are These Located? – To find a college fair near you, visit the National Association for College Admissions Counseling website.

5.  Take Virtual Campus Tours

What Are Virtual Campus Tours? – This is a simulation of what the college will look like in person.  Since you won’t be applying for a while, there’s no need to visit in person just yet.  Virtual campus tours can give you an idea of what the campus will look like, what the buildings look like, and where things are located, without spending the time and money to travel there.

How Do I Find These? – Visit the websites of the colleges that you’re interested in attending and look for a virtual tour link (or something similar).  If you can’t find it there, try clicking here.

6.  Begin Thinking About College Majors

Why Is This Important? – Don’t wait until you step foot on campus to start thinking about what you might want to major in.  Instead, take the proactive approach and ask yourself the following 3 simple questions:

    • What Do I Love?
    • What Am I Good At?
    • What Do I Value?

Answering these questions will help you to begin thinking about potential career options.

7.  Research Standardized Exams

Why Is This Important? – Standardized exams are a large part of the college admissions process, therefore it’s important that you know about each exam and how it will impact you.  Take some time this year to learn about and research the following exams:

    • PSAT
    • PLAN
    • ACT
    • SAT
    • SAT Subject Tests
    • AP Exams

8.  Start Your Scholarship Search – Now is a good time to sign-up on the website.  This site has access to over 1.3 million scholarships.  Once you sign-up and answer several questions, the site will automatically send you notifications for scholarships that you are eligible for.

Why Sign-Up Sophomore Year? – Signing up early allows you plenty of time to become familiar with the site and what it has to offer.  Once it’s time for you to start applying to scholarships, you’ll know the requirements like the back of your hand.

9. Start Researching Financial Aid Options

Why Is This Important? – There are several different ways for you to fund your college education.  You can stay ahead of the game by learning all of your different financing options and then figuring out which options will work best for you and your parents.

“Paying For College” – Read the posts under the Paying for College category on website.

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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