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college countdown: your college success starts here


Sophomore Year

Sophomore: School Year

Jump to Parent Timeline.


students classroom
Should have done by now
  • Sign up for a challenging but manageable sophomore year.


  • Take high school seriously. College admissions officers will look at your transcript and GPA.
  • Plan your junior year classes.
  • Talk with your parents about how your college education will be paid for and how much you can afford to spend.
Helpful, But Not Required
  • Take the PSAT if your school offers it and allows sophomore to take it.
  • Take the PLAN test if your school offers it.
  • Research careers or college majors that interest you.
  • Do something productive during the summer, such as volunteer work, internships, or summer classes.
  • Think about what you need and want in a college.




For you to do
  • Introduce yourself to your child's counselor.
  • Think about how your child's college education will be paid for.
  • Determine your family's affordability threshold.
  • Talk with your child about how his or her college education will be paid for and your family's affordability threshold.
For you to help your student
  • Start thinking about SAT or ACT test prep.
  • Help your child with time management and organization.
  • Make sure your child has a quiet place to study without distraction.
  • Help your child update and review his or her 4-year academic plan.
  • Start getting informed about colleges.
  • Go on informal college visits with your child.
Ongoing Tasks
- Review and update your academic plan; include challenging courses.
- Work hard to get good grades.
- Save a few examples of your best work (essays, projects, etc.)
- Keep an updated resume.
- Stay involved in extracurricular activities.
- Explore potential career options: talk to people, check the Internet, job shadow, etc.
- Prepare for standardized tests.
- Start thinking about colleges you'd like to visit.
- Establish relationships with your teachers and your counselor.
- Talk with college students about their experiences.
- Keep and organize any college or career information that you think is important.