It’s important to start prepping for college as soon as possible. When you become a sophomore in high school, you should start considering what colleges you want to attend. It’s also a good idea to start prepping for various tests that are required to get into most colleges.
One of the first steps you should take is to meet with a guidance counselor. Your counselor can help you begin your college plans, like finding and scheduling the tests you need to take. If you get a list of necessary tests, whether they’re state required tests, entrance exams, or specific tests your dream college requires you to take to get in, you’ll be better prepared and won’t be caught off guard later.
Some of the most important exams are the ACT, SAT, PSAT, NMSQT or PLAN. For the ACT and SAT, you won’t have to take the test(s) until your junior year of high school. But it’s a good idea to start taking prep classes and to start studying for them during your sophomore year. This way, you’ll feel comfortable, relaxed and confident when those big days come a year later. Your high school or a local educational hub may offer these prep classes, so keep an eye and an ear out for word so you can be one of the first to enroll.
The peace of mind these prep classes can give you carries a lot more weight as an influence on your life than being able to sleep in on a Saturday or being able to take a nap after the school day is over.
It’s also important to keep in mind that most college applications require significant volunteer hours. Use your summers to prepare and start volunteering in your community. You can also start shadowing people in careers you might be considering. Having a clear idea of what you want to do will make your college selection process that much easier.
Financial Aid Planning
Your sophomore year of high school is also a great time to start considering what financial aid options you will need and to begin to plan accordingly. Parents can also do their share of college prep by looking into financial aid and attending college nights. You’ll have a better idea about how much it will actually cost to send your child to school and can help you plan out the next few years.
Also, start to teach your child about the importance of balance work, school and friends. Help them get a part time job so they can start to learn how to juggle all the many ins-and-outs of college. You can also familiarize yourself with the tests your kids will be taking so you can help them study.
The summer between your sophomore and junior years is as crucial a time as any. Don’t be afraid to schedule another meeting with your guidance counselor to help you continue to consider all your options so you can start to put together a college plan. One of the keys to a successful start to your secondary education involves extensive planning early in the process.