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6 Top College Preparation Tips for Sophomores and Their Families

by Roman Mashchak
High school juniors and seniors have a lot of support from teachers and other staff members, and parents, when it comes to preparing for college. But what about High School sophomores; what should they be doing to prepare for applying to college?
It isn’t too early for sophomores — students about to go into Grade 10 in the new academic year — to start planning for college. Getting into college, whether you are going public or private, in our out of state, is competitive.
So, putting plans in place and taking action sooner rather than later is useful for getting ahead of the competition and laying a stable foundation for college and beyond.
Top 6 tips for high school sophomores:
Tip 1: Take practice tests
Sitting practice tests in sophomore year will get you ready for taking the real tests as a junior (e.g. a practice ACT or PSAT). This way, you can gauge how much studying is going to be needed for the real ones, and if you aren't happy with the results, then speak to your school counselor. Ask for extra support as needed from your English, Maths and Science teachers.
You can also use online preparation tools. One great way to get geared up for these tests is to use online learning platforms, such as Khan Academy — partnered with the College Board — to fill any knowledge gaps.
Tip 2: Take ownership of your education
If you want to get into college, then your education is no longer something you can participate in passively. You need to take ownership, and aim to achieve the best grades possible. Speak to teachers, tutors and counselors about how to prepare for tests. Aim to address any academic weak areas. Even arrange for extra tutoring, if you can.
Look for suitable summer opportunities that will strengthen your college applications, and make sure to get any endorsements you need from tutors and counselors.
Tip 3: Create scholarship search engine profiles
For those hoping to secure scholarships, there are platforms that will help connect you to colleges. They can even see how closely you match with entry requirements for colleges and can help you access up to $11 billion of college scholarships and financial aid around.
Cappex and Fastweb are well worth looking into and getting started with during sophomore year.
Tip 4: Focus on strengths and interests
Now is the time to start asking yourself some big questions:
What are you interested in?
What do you enjoy studying?
What do you see yourself doing after college?
Don't know if you don't know the answer to these questions yet. If, however, there are subjects you enjoy more than others, then now is a great chance to focus on those more when planning courses to take in your junior and senior years at high school.
Having a strong high-school curriculum and good grades is crucial for when applying to college. If it turns out you don't enjoy the subjects you wanted to focus on more, then at least you’ve not declared a major in something that isn't as interesting as you originally thought.
Tip 5: Make good use of summer
The summer before and after sophomore year are equally useful when it comes to applying for colleges. Everything you are doing is geared towards having the best application possible. Pursue opportunities in subjects you are interested in, if you can. Travel. Do charity work. Or work, if you need to save as much as you can for college.
Whatever you do, make use of this downtime. You will thank yourself later when applying for college.
Tip 6: Know how to navigate college
For those who've not had older siblings, friends or family go to college, it can seem daunting. Within every college are hundreds of curriculum routes, obvious and not obvious, to get to the majors and minors people want to take to get the careers they want after college. You need to know how to successfully navigate the academic landscape.
With a real-time study plan app, such as Prepler, that is exactly what you can do. Use this to work out the best colleges for you. This way, it’s easier to know which courses to take in high school to get onto the courses you want at college and into the best possible college for what you want to study and do after graduation.
Sophomore year in high school is a great time to lay the right foundations for the future you want. Starting now will give you the best possible advantage when the time comes for applying to college.

Colleges on Prepler