How to Prepare for College in Your Sophomore Year of High School

Now that you’re in your sophomore year of high school, you’ve likely started to think more about your plans for college. Preparing early is a great decision; it’s never too soon to think about your future!

Maybe you already have an idea of what to expect, or perhaps you’re just beginning to think about college more seriously. While it may seem far off, the college application process will be here before you know it. Here are a few ways you can work to become a standout applicant starting in your sophomore year.

Follow Your Academic Plan

During this time, it’s important to keep developing your study skills and work with your teachers if you have questions so you don’t fall behind. To have a standout college application, admissions representatives like Azusa Pacific University’s Luke Irving recommend focusing on your studies throughout your sophomore year of high school to get your grade point average up—and then sustaining those habits. “Develop good study skills to get your grades ready for the college review process,” he explained.

If you started high school with a course plan and good study habits, keep up the good work! And if not, there’s no need to worry; you’ve still got plenty of time. Consider setting up a meeting with your high school counselor to make a plan for college admissions and chart a course toward graduation.

Start Looking for Financial Aid

Although it may feel like a long way off, your first year of college will be here before you know it. Thinking ahead and preparing financially can help ease some of the workload as the college admissions process approaches.

There are plenty of private scholarship opportunities available to students early in their high school journey. Search reputable scholarship databases to find opportunities that may be available to you. From the electives you take in school to the hobbies you practice in your free time—you can find a scholarship for almost anything.

Some schools, such as Azusa Pacific, also offer small scholarships for your hard work in high school.

Consider Getting a Summer Job

This summer, you can work on your professional skills and earn some cash at the same time. A part-time summer job builds character, teaches responsibility, and starts building your résumé. Any high school job could be the first step toward a future career.

Not only will you learn on the job, but the money you earn can be put toward saving for college. This money can be used for books, living expenses, or spending money to use while you’re living on campus.

Alternatively, you can also seek out volunteer opportunities, as many schools look for applicants with volunteer experience. Irving noted that sophomore year of high school is a great time to start building this area of your résumé.

Talk About Your College Plans with Family

Your sophomore year is also a good time to start discussing college with your family. Irving recommended getting them involved early on, as this allows them to offer their advice and help you prepare. If you’re the first in your family to attend college, you can still benefit by talking with them about your plans and making it a learning experience with their support.

Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for in a college, you can also attend a virtual admissions event together or plan trips to visit local campuses and get a better idea of what the college environment is like. Share the experience with your family and let them enjoy the process with you.

Interested in getting to know more about APU and the programs available? Learn more about the school and visit the campus, either in person or online.