Updated: May 29, 2021
The Most Important Year Of A Student's High School Career
While a student's freshman year is important to their success and odds of getting into their dream school. Their sophomore year by far the most important year of their high-school careers. This year is where their dreams of making it into schools like Harvard, Princeton, Yale or Stanford are realized or destroyed. Their choices in this year almost exclusively determine their high-school future. Needless to say, this year is supremely important.
The reason why a student's sophomore year is so critical is because their sophomore year actions directly affect where they will be for their junior year. It's the last year they have to put their best foot forward in an attempt to show the colleges of their dreams that they would be the best person to attend their school. If they stumble this year, or make some un-optimal choices, it will completely change their future in a drastic way.
The reason why a student's sophomore year is so important is because after their sophomore year, a student is more or less "stuck" in terms of their GPA, ranking, and extracurriculars. This is where decisions made in high school start to freeze into more permanent ones. For example, elite universities like to see that a student has participated in at least two years of sports, and if they have obtained a leadership position in that sport, that serves as a major bonus for that student's application. If a student chose not to participate in a sport their freshman year and then subsequently in their sophomore year, they're now in a tricky spot because if they want the benefits that comes with sports participation, they'll have to choose a sport and excel in it so much that they might be able to obtain a leadership position by the fall of their senior year and that is very difficult to do.
This doesn't apply only to sports, but to extracurriculars as well. If a student has sampled many extracurriculars in their freshman year and found most of them to be enjoyable, they don't have the same luxury their sophomore year. If they want to obtain the critical leadership positions that colleges and universities are looking for, they must prove themselves to be exceptional in one of those extracurriculars; and this often means spending more time on that one relative to the others. This forces the student to make a decision of whether or not they want to be mediocre at many things and enjoy them all, or exceptional at a few so that they catch the eye of the college of their dreams.
This introduces the concept we named the "Sophomore Year Split"
The Sophomore Split
The sophomore split is the moment during a student's sophomore year where they are forced to specialize into 5 main types of students: STEM Scholars, Humanities Intellectuals, Athletic Academics, Professional Polymaths and Sharp Social Scientists.
If you're interested in a refresher on what these distinctions mean as well as the character attributes associated with each student type, you can click here.
What's important about this split is that after students go through the split, they set themselves down one of the paths, and for the most part, can't turn back without dire consequences.
Path 1: The STEM Scholar
In this path, a student decides that STEM is their strong suit and thus decides to lean more towards STEM classes. So in their sophomore year, they might be taking honors classes in the sciences departments at their school. Classes like biology honors, physics honors, chemistry honors, etc. are the types of classes a student like this would take.
Path 2: The Humanities Intellectual
In this path, a student decides that the Humanities are their strong suit and thus decides to lean into more humanities based classes. So in their sophomore year, they might take English Honors, Theatre, Creative Writing, etc. Classes in the humanities department of their school.
Path 3: The Sharp Social Scientist
In this path, a student decides that they are most gifted in the social science fields than in any other, and as a result, leans into that field. This means that they take history honors, government and politics, economics honors, etc.
Path 4: The Athletic Academic
In this path, a student decides that their selling point to the college of their dreams won't be academic, but instead, athletic. What they do is turn their focus and energy towards becoming exceptional at their given sport(s) in hopes of attracting their college of their dreams that way.
Path 5: The Professional Polymath
As we states before, this type of student is incredibly rare, their strategy for getting into college is to do everything exceptionally and as a result, stand out in that way. Their idea is that if they can do everything exceptionally, from sports to academics, to leadership positions in extracurriculars, it will make them an incredible candidate fr the college they want to get into.
In our next posts, we'll cover the split in greater detail, why students can't deviate once they make a choice on who they want to be, and finally, how this affects their future moving forward.
Next Post: Sophomore Spring ->
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