College Planning for the High School Sophomore

If you’re starting your sophomore year this fall, chances are you’re aware of the competition you’ll face when applying for colleges. Your sophomore year is the time to really buckle down and focus on qualifying yourself for college. At Westface College Planning, we want to help you make a plan to take full advantage of your sophomore school year.

As soon as you start your sophomore year, you should see your school counselor. Your counselor will be able to make sure you’re taking the right classes. If you are enrolled in classes that won’t help you get into college, you will want to find out as soon as possible so you have the opportunity to switch to something more useful.

Your counselor will also be able to help you sign up for the PLAN (practice test for the ACT) and the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test), which you should take toward the end of fall. These tests are very important because they will help you prepare for the ACT or SAT I and II.

If you’re not sure how you’re going to pay for college, now is a good time for you and your parents to start looking at ways you can set up your family finances to receive as much financial aid as possible. This is just one of the many helpful topics I cover in my College Planning Workshops.

Don’t let winter break derail your progress toward college preparedness. Winter is a great time to make a list of possible mentors. Your mentor should be someone who can help guide you through important decisions. Consider teachers, counselors, coaches, neighbors or family friends for help.

You will also receive the results of your PLAN or PSAT/NMSQT tests in the winter. Howtogetin.com recommends reading the materials sent with your score report and consulting your school counselor to discuss courses that may be required or would be beneficial for college. This is also a great time to begin looking at colleges. Make sure you are aware of any special requirements you might need to get into your dream school. If there are, discuss them with your counselor.

Spring is the time to begin to focus on your junior year. You should meet with your counselor or teacher to sign up for the classes you need to graduate and get into college. Sign up for difficult courses that prepare you for college-level work. The harder you work now, the more you’ll get out of high school and the more college choices you’ll have. Colleges look at the types of classes you take, not just the grades you receive. Now is the time to consider taking AP classes in your junior year. AP, IB and honors classes cover subjects in more depth and at a faster pace. They give you a chance to see what college-level course work is like.

You should also consider registering for the June SAT II: Subject Tests. Many colleges call for three SAT II tests. It is a good idea to take these tests during your junior year, if want to take your third test in a subject you have studied this year; you may want to complete that test now while the topic is still fresh in your mind. You can take the math and writing subjects now if you want to practice.

College planning doesn’t begin your junior year. The more prepared you are in your sophomore year, the more likely you’ll get into the college of your dreams. To learn more about how we can help you prepare for college, attend one of our upcoming College Planning Workshops.

Photo Credit: Fields of View

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