Sophomore Year Checklist to Get Ready for College

By Huntington Learning Center

The second year of high school is when many students start thinking more seriously about college. Your teen won’t be filling out applications or anything just yet, but it’s important for you and your teen to stay on track with this sophomore year checklist:

  • Talk about the cost. It’s a good idea to begin researching scholarships and the cost of the colleges and universities of interest to your teen and discuss your family budget for college.
  • Start researching college majors. It’s not too early for you and your teen to talk about the possibilities. Open the floor—what subjects does your teen enjoy? What careers sound intriguing?
  • Start researching and visiting colleges. A little online research will help your teen start getting familiar with your state’s schools and any others on his or her mind that are further away. College fairs are an excellent way to explore as well. The National Association for College Admission Counseling hosts college fairs all over the country, and the guidance counselor is also a good resource for local college fairs or college visit days. 

Here are this year’s to-dos that are your teen’s responsibility:

  • Keep up the grades. If freshman year was a little tumultuous, your teen should consider getting individualized tutoring help. It’s important to turn things around quickly because your teen’s grades do matter in high school.
  • Register for the PreACT. This is essentially a practice ACT test for sophomores. Your teen can contact the guidance counselor to learn more about administration dates and if it is available in your area.
  • Register for the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Like the PreACT, this is a practice test for sophomores—and juniors—and it is also is the qualifier for National Merit Scholar programs and other scholarships. Your teen should talk with the guidance counselor to get PSAT dates.
  • Take Advanced Placement (AP) classes and exams. Sophomore year is often when more AP classes are available for students. If he or she hasn’t done so already, your teen should consult with the guidance counselor about classes and exam dates.
  • Cultivate good relationships with teachers. Your teen might be asking them for recommendation letters in the next year or two, so that sophomore year is a great time to start building those relationships.
  • Stay on top of SAT Subject Tests. Some colleges request/require them to show subject mastery, but many students mistakenly assume they should wait to take them as upperclassmen. Your teen should take them as soon after the corresponding class as possible. The guidance counselor can advise your teen on which, if any, to take.
  • Explore summer learning opportunities. Your teen should use the summer before their junior year to explore career possibilities or do something resume-building and productive. Maybe your teen wants to get involved in community service or start something entrepreneurial. Encourage him or her to get creative. 

If your teen could use tutoring, SAT or ACT prep, or general guidance on how to be the best high school student possible, call Huntington at 1-800 CAN LEARN. We’ll share more about our learning and exam prep programs and how to help your teen be successful in high school.


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