Updated: May 29, 2021
Where The College Application Process Truly Begins
The spring of a student's sophomore year is a truly important time as by this point, they have nearly completed 2 years of their high-school careers and more importantly, they've entered the period of time where they need to start looking forward towards what they might want in the future.
This calls for two key decisions they need to make.
Decision #1, they need to decide what type of student they want to be.
Choosing A Student Type
At this point in a student's education career, they should have a fairly solid idea of what type of student they are. Now, it's time for them to go all in on that student type.
This means choosing classes, extracurriculars, and extra-scholarly activities that align with that student type.
For example, a student who is a STEM scholar would take a number of AP Classes in STEM disciplines in their junior year of high-school to triple down on their strengths in the STEM fields. In addition, they would choose extracurriculars like Science Olympiad or Science Bowl and position themselves in such a way that they can have a leadership position in one or more of these clubs by the fall of their senior year.
Secondly, a student who is a Professional Polymath would do things slightly differently than the STEM scholar but apply the same principles. Since the STEM Scholar is known for their single minded ability and focus in the STEM fields, and the polymath is known for their versatility, the Professional Polymath would accentuate this versatility and ability to do many things well. This might mean acquiring a leadership position on a sports team, a STEM oriented academic club, and being a key member of the theatre team. Or, this might mean taking AP courses in both the STEM and Humanities Fields and excelling in them. Just like the STEM Scholar, the Professional Polymath would accentuate their key traits at this time in order to help them shine in the way they know how to. A similar idea is applied to the Humanities Intellectuals, Athletic Academics and Sharp Social Scientists.
With that decision made, a student also has to make another crucial decision.
Decision #2, they need to decide which colleges might be right for them and what they need to get there.
Planning for the future
During the spring of a student's sophomore year, it is critical that they start thinking about the types of schools they want to get into, and what it might take to get into these types of schools.
Every student in the spring of their sophomore year should make a list of 25 possible schools they wish to attend. This list should include their reach schools, their safety schools and everything in between. The goal is to eliminate schools off the list, one by one, until the student is left with 10 by the start of the summer before their junior year. With these 10 in mind, they'll have a concrete target to aim for when thinking about college and where they want to be in two years.
The importance of the spring of sophomore year is that it is a planning period for students where they can start working on acquiring some of the traits, extracurriculars, and attributes the colleges they wish to go to are looking for. It's a time for them to step back and look forward to see what more there is to do to get where they want to be.
For this reason, every student should take the Dream School Quiz. This quiz gives a student a very clear idea of where they are right now in no uncertain terms. On top of that, it gives every student a customized step by step plan to help them get into the type of school they want to get into. Take it here.
Finally, apart from choosing a student type and planning for the future, at this point in a student's career, they should start thinking about and preparing for their first full SAT test for the fall of their junior year. Beyond that, they should also start thinking about volunteer work and other activities they could participate in over the summer. In addition, they should start to have a clear idea of where they rank with respect to their peers academically and what they have to do to improve those odds. Finally, they should start thinking forward to acquiring leadership positions in their various extracurriculars for the fall of their junior year.
While there is nothing immediately pressing about the spring of a students sophomore year, they have much to contemplate and prepare for in their later years. If they navigate these waters successfully, they'll enter their junior years miles ahead of other students and have a substantially higher chance of making it into their dream school.
Next Post: Sophomore Summer ->
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