Sophomores often get a bad rap as having the immaturity of freshmen with the cockiness of juniors. After years of working with sophomores, we don’t buy that one bit! In fact, we know this is a great year to take your lead at the head of the pack.
Here’s some quick tips to help you be a sophomore stand out:
Use the mistakes of freshman year as learning experiences. Didn’t dedicate enough time to independent study? Neglected to turn in work? Didn’t ask for help? Now that you know what doesn’t work, you’re better equipped to do what does. Participate in class, ask questions, review materials every night. All these things, along with an added year of maturity, will go a long way on your road to success.
Meet with your counselor. After the hectic first week of school is behind you, schedule time with your counselor to review your academic history, discuss your GPA, talk about assessment requirements for dual enrollment and graduation, and get information on your dream colleges. Knowing the expectations and where you stand is really important at this point in your high school journey. Wait too long, and you run the risk of not meeting the requirements for the schools you want to attend.
Sign up for the PSAT. A lot of schools offer this test to their sophomores for FREE. Yep, FREE. And, when you do sit for the PSAT, take it seriously. The results provide important feedback on your test-taking skills and strengths and weaknesses. You can use the results to design a plan of action for the real SAT.
Also, if you score high enough on your PSAT, you may find yourself eligible for the National Merit Scholarship. So, there’s that.
Participate in extracurricular activities. Join a team or club. Better yet, go for a leadership position. Colleges eat that stuff up. They want you to come to their school and do the same thing. And, you’ll experience the happy side effect of having some fun and making connections with your peers and club sponsors. Those sponsors will later be good resources for letters of recommendation.
Get your community service hours. While you may not need community service hours to graduate, you do need 100 of them for some scholarships like Bright Futures. That’s 25 per year, but how great would it look to colleges when you apply as a junior if you had more? Colleges love to see applicants who get involved in their communities. Many service clubs at your school offer volunteer opportunities, but you can also find things that are important to you and sign up on your own. Go clean a beach, take care of animals, tutor kids at your church, deliver meals to homebound senior citizens. You’ll be doing some good while setting yourself apart.