Underclassmen Updates: Make the Most of Sophomore Year

Christina Le
Christina Le

Our collaborative team of content writers and researchers stay up-to-date on the latest news to help you ace your applications. We hope you enjoy the blog.

Being a sophomore is often a confusing time in high school. You may be telling yourself that college is far away and that you have plenty of time, but it is much closer than you think. However, you can prepare yourself for college early on and make the most of your sophomore year. 

Other than grades, sophomore year is the time to start thinking about the future and making a game plan. You need to start focusing on extracurriculars you are passionate about, choosing what AP classes you will take next year, and sign up for your PSAT. It may sound scary and impossible, but taking these factors into consideration will help you in the long run. Keep reading to learn how to make the most of your sophomore year.

1. Think about what AP classes to take.

Students may wonder, “Why do I need to take AP classes? What are the benefits?” Taking AP classes is a great way to make your college application stand out from others. It shows that you aren’t afraid to challenge yourself and put in a little extra work. Other than making your college application a little more unique, AP classes also provide benefits on the long run. If you score a 3 or higher on your AP exam, you may be able to earn some college credit and skip classes in the future.

For example, because I took AP Literature and did well on the exam in high school, I was able to skip one of my core writing classes when I got to college. AP classes also provide opportunities to get scholarships and save money!

2. Take the PSAT.

Everyone knows that it it important to the take SAT or ACT test to get into a good college. However, many students neglect to realize the benefits of taking the PSAT. The PSAT is a great way to practice for the real thing. Taking the PSAT can mentally prepare you for the SAT and show you what to expect, so you will be more prepared for the actual SAT.

You can also get an idea of your strengths and weaknesses and what you should work on. For example, I took the PSAT during my sophomore year in high school and scored poorly on the math portion. I used the results to do a math section every week and ended up improving my score. Also, when I took the actual SAT, I was so used to the test that I was able to think clearly and calmly.

3. Start thinking about what college you want to go to.

It is never too early to start thinking about the future. Be proactive. Start researching colleges, visiting campuses, and make a list of possible options. List the pros and cons of different colleges.

Learn about the majors each school offers, the campus life, sports, and other things that are important to you! The more informed you are, the more of an advantage you will have. Getting ahead of the game will be advantageous in the long run.

When you realize what college you want to attend and what you want to major in, you can set realistic goals for yourself and have something to work towards. If you are having trouble deciding, feel free to schedule a talk with one of our counselors at Empowerly!

4. Stick to extracurriculars that are important to you.

Forget quantity over quantity. What are you passionate about? Is it dance, speech and debate, or volunteering? Find one or two passions that you truly enjoy and stick with it. Studies have shown that colleges prefer students who stick to a few activities for long periods of time rather than the opposite. It shows dedication and hard work. These extracurriculars can help you show your uniqueness and individuality and give them a better picture of who are you are.

It is even more impressive if you take over leadership roles in extracurriculars. If you are in Key Club, run for officer. Or, if your school doesn’t have a book club and you love reading, start the club yourself! Maybe you are really good at tennis; see if you can make it to Nationals.

5. Don’t slack off in school.

You may think that it’s okay to do poorly in school right now because it’s early, but it’s not. Your grades during sophomore year are important because they will contribute to your cumulative GPA. GPA and test scores are the first thing that colleges look at. If you have poor grades, the rest doesn’t really matter. Don’t slack off!

Make mini goals for yourself to make sure you are one step closer to your goal. School will become even more difficult as a junior and senior so make sure your grades are up to par now. Learn your study habits, go to tutoring, and do whatever you can to do your best in school. Getting good grades now can open up so many doors in the future. 

Although sophomore year might not seem important, it is actually ideal for students to start thinking about the bigger picture and preparing themselves for college. For more questions or counseling, visit synocate.com to learn how to make the most of sophomore year!

Questions? Let us know!