School is starting for many high school students across the country. From a college admissions point of view, the sophomore year is the second most important year of high school. Although you may not know which college you want to attend or what you're going to major in, the college advisors at International College Counselors have provided a clear general strategy that will prepare you for wherever you apply.
1. Meet with your counselor. Discuss your career goals and the classes you should take. Many colleges require a high school career that shows a progression of courses. Make sure your high school coursework is laying the foundation colleges are looking for.
2. Choose your classes wisely. The difficulty of the courses you take matter. Instead of going for the easy "A," choose classes that will challenge you. Colleges like to see students who have shown that they challenge themselves.
3. Avoid the Sophomore Slump. School can feel tedious and boring, stay focused on the goal: college. Keep your grades up. Class rank and grades are key factors in college admissions.
4. Explore your personal interests. Take classes in a variety of subjects that interest you. Join some clubs. Take part in different activities outside of your school. Take classes of interest at a community college. Now is your chance to find out what you like to do. Identifying your interests will help you choose a college major.
5. Take the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) and the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT).The 2012 PSAT/NMSQT test dates are Wednesday, Oct. 17 and Saturday, Oct.20. Make sure you go over the test results with a college counselor: an independent one or one at your school.
6. Consider taking the PLAN. The PLAN is the American College Testing (ACT) counterpart to the PSAT. This test covers English, math, reading and science. It is typically given in October.
7. Get to know teachers. It's not too early to do this. Work really hard to impress a chosen few of your teachers. You want them to know you—and like you— well enough to possibly write personal and exceptional letters of recommendation for you.
8. Get Involved. Perform community service and/or get a part-time job. Extracurricular activities show that you're well rounded and know how to manage your time efficiently. Next year you will want to take on a leadership position, start laying the groundwork.
9. Read and Write. You will need good writing skills for your college essay and for the rest of your life. Reading builds vocabulary. College counselors at International College Counselors recommend students take a look at the SAT prep books out there. There are many resources from romance novels to manga comic books that will build vocabulary while being entertaining.
10. Learn, learn, learn. Take a look at the Common Application and get familiar with what colleges are asking for on their applications. Visit some college websites and see what all the fuss is about.
Since 2004, the college advisors at International College Counselors have helped more than 500 students find, apply to and gain acceptance into the college of their dreams. The expert college advisors at International College Counselors are dedicated to helping students and their parents with the often daunting and complex college application process.
For more information on International College Counselors or to contact an expert college counselor in New York, contact Cheryl Delaney at email@example.com.