You may think college prep can wait another year. After all, college applications and the FAFSA don’t have to be turned in until your senior year, so you may want to wait until junior year to begin. However, it’s never too early to start. There are plenty of things you can be doing while you’re still a sophomore in high school.
Explore Majors and Potential Careers
Now is the time where you should begin to really explore what majors and potential careers catch your eye. Take a look at your strengths as well as your passions. Do they meet somewhere that sounds like the right path for you?
Choosing electives for your junior year is also important. You may be asked to take an extra English course or if you’d like to continue with a language course. Select classes that you think would peak your interest in the subject or work towards your future.
Start Looking at Schools
It’s not too early to at least begin looking at colleges! Start looking at pictures, the ratings, offered majors, cities, and overall information about schools, local and national, that interest you. You can start to get an idea of your likes, dislikes, and must have qualities by starting earlier and just exploring your options now.
You also may want to think about visiting some colleges you are most interested in. Local schools can be a great place to start so you don’t have travel far this year, and plan to visit further away colleges next year. You can get a feel for the campus, town, and the community and potentially add schools you’d like to consider more carefully or cross them off your list entirely.
Take the PSAT and PreACT
Although junior high school students are the ones generally taking the PSAT or PreACT, there’s plenty of sophomores who take them as well! These tests are extremely important to your college applications, so practice truly does help. The PSAT awards a scholarship to students who score high, but only juniors are eligible. However, taking it a year early and then taking it again the following year can give you a head start on practice and a better chance of scoring well or even winning the scholarship.
Take Part in Extracurricular Activities
Not part of a club in high school? Don’t take part in sports after class? You may want to reconsider! Taking a closer look at the extracurricular activities around you could give you a chance to explore your interests further, outside the classroom. You may even discover a passion you didn’t know you had, something that influences your decision when it comes to college or a major.
Take a look at what clubs exist at your school and circle the ones that interest you. Attending the first meeting day can give you an idea if it’s for you or not.
It’s never too early to start on college prep, whether you’re a freshman, a sophomore, or a junior in high school. Getting started now will put you ahead of the game and make senior year less of a scramble to the finish line.
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