Preparing for College 101: High School Sophomores

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High school is an important period of transition as you’re making your way towards adulthood and starting to think about colleges and careers. To help guide you through this exciting (but sometimes stressful!) time, we’ve put together a list of things to keep in mind during each year of high school.

As a sophomore, you might feel like you have a long way to go before graduation, but it will be here faster than you think! These tips will help you get a jump start on preparing for college.

Identify and explore your interests

Now is a great time to start thinking about your interests and how they might relate to future careers. There are many different online tools to help you discover careers that you’d like to learn more about. While we don’t expect our incoming students to know exactly what they’d like to study or what career they’re preparing for, thinking about your interests now can help you choose classes or majors to explore once you get to campus.

Summer and holiday breaks can be great times to explore your interests outside of the classroom. There are all kinds of meaningful activities you can incorporate into your summer and holiday plans. Community service, summer jobs, and travel have many advantages! Not only do they provide the opportunity to add valuable experiences to your college applications, they can also spark new interests.

Find mentors and ask questions

Don’t be afraid to reach out for guidance or to ask questions. Family, neighbors, friends, teachers, and school counselors can be great resources for you as you’re thinking about college. Ask them about their college experiences – how they chose which school to attend, how they picked a major, or what their most valuable college experiences were. This information is a strong starting point to launch your own college search.

If you’ve already identified some of your interests, try to find mentors whose careers are related to those fields. Internships and job shadowing can be great ways to learn more about a career. If you’re unsure of what career fields you’re interested in, ask the people in your life what led them to the job they have now. What did they study in school? How does that relate to their job now? What is their day like? What do they like and dislike about their job?

Launch your college search

During your sophomore year, you can start to put some thought into what you’re looking for in a college. Think about your high school (Big classes? Small classes? Emphasis on sports? Clubs and organizations?) and your community (Rural? Tons of traffic? Outdoor activities? Diverse community?) and then think about which of those features you’d like to have in college. Next, think about new features you’d like to have as part of your college experience.

No one is expecting you to pick a single college from the start – it’s a process! Start to think about your likes and dislikes and begin your list there. Between books, blogs (like this one!), websites, and your friends and family, there are plenty of resources available for research.

Lastly, remember to keep an open mind. Don’t get too anxious about this process. There is plenty of time to figure it out, and you’re off to a great start by simply reading this post!

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