In this second post of our series Getting Ready to Apply to Top Tier Colleges and Universities, a four part series for freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors, I offer tips to high school sophomores. This year is a pivotal year for high school students and an important year for admissions directors.
Tips for High School Sophomores
1. Continue to take AP courses and then take the test at the end of the course. Applying to college with 6-8 AP courses and tests behind you can knock almost an entire year of college off your college requirements. You would begin university as a freshman, but to the university, based on the number of credits you bring in, you could be considered a sophomore. This option alone will enable you to save thousands of dollars in tuition or take lighter loads in college enabling you to work or get involved in extracurricular and community service activities that will help you in your job search and also when applying to graduate school.
2. Get to know your administrators. The Principal or Headmaster, Vice Principals and Counselors can be wonderful advocates for you. They may be willing to go the extra mile and write a letter of recommendation for you. I am certain that one of my client’s was admitted off the waitlist to her favorite school because of her Principal’s letter extolling her leadership, intelligence and relating the admiration of her peers and faculty.
3. Study for and take the PSAT. Most students believe the PSAT is just a practice test for the SAT, but it is so much more. The PSAT is also called the NMSQT because this test can qualify you for a National Merit Scholarship, the National Achievement Scholarship, the National Hispanic Recognition Program or a number of Corporate Scholarships. Note that the National Merit Scholarship Corporation does require its scholarship recipients to be U.S. citizens.
4. Begin thinking about the kind of school you would like to attend:
• Large, medium or small
• City, rural, campus or suburban
• College or university or community
• Specified or all-encompassing
• Public or private
• In-state or out-of state
• Historically Black College, faith-based, All-female
• Ask seniors where they are attending school and why they chose the school that they chose.
• Is having a Greek (fraternity or sorority) presence important to you?
• Is living in an all-freshman dormitory important to you?
• Is a semester abroad program important to you?
5. Begin to take on leadership roles in your extracurricular activities. Don’t just run for student government representative, but run for sophomore class chairperson.
6. Study, study, study…read, read, read.
Stay tuned for the next post in this series, Getting Ready to Apply to Top Tier Colleges and Universities: Junior Year.
By Natalie Grinblatt Epstein, an accomplished Accepted consultant/editor (since 2008) and entrepreneur. Natalie is a former MBA Admissions Dean and Director at Ross, Johnson, and Carey. Want Natalie to help you get accepted to business school? Click here to get in touch!