To have success in high school, build a plan.

There are plenty of saying in the world that talk about “preparation.” The idea that being prepared is a crucial part of living a life that is copasetic and stress-free. 

  • Make sure to have your ducks in a row
  • Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today
  • To be prepared is half the victory. 

So, if you are venturing into your sophomore year of high school and haven’t adopted this mindset, it might be worth your time. 

Your sophomore year of high school is a great time to get a head start on your academic life and the college application process. It is a time to make sure things are organized for a much more demanding school life that awaits you in both your junior and senior year. 

To help you be as prepared as possible and ready for whatever life throws your way, here is a quick checklist to get you thinking about your sophomore year and the many things you can do to “get your ducks in a row.”

Evaluate your course load for the school year

The school year has already begun, but it is still an excellent time to think about the classes you are taking and what you have “on-deck” for next semester. The course load you take sophomore year of high school sets you up for success your junior and senior year. Ask yourself: 

  • Am I taking the right classes to help prepare for my junior year?
  • Do I have the right AP Classes on my schedule?
  • Am I on the right track for junior and senior year requirements?
  • Are these the courses I should be taking to prepare for the SAT/ACT?

Take a look at the following blog to get a better idea of what your course load should look like:


Make a list of potential after school extracurricular activities

Your high school career is about creating a well rounded learning experience. Yes, you need to focus on your studies, but it is also essential to make sure you are participating in extracurricular activities. Think about your interests and find an activity that would be fun and worth your time. Is there a sport you like to play? A club that you find interesting? Maybe, you could give Student Council a try?


Think about volunteering 

Not many sophomore students are thinking about their college resume, but it should be something you have on your mental radar. A great way to prepare for the application process is to think about volunteering in your community. Volunteering and community outreach is a great way to set you apart from other applicants. 


Now, I know what you are thinking: shouldn’t you do outreach activities because you are a good person? The answer is…YES! However, it is important to note that colleges also like to see how you have gone beyond the classroom to create a well-rounded student. 


Think about what exam you will take junior year (SAT/ACT)

Your junior year of high school may seem like it is miles away (in the distant future) and not something you should be considering. However, it might be worth your time to think about and research which exam you want to take for college acceptance. Your choices are either the SAT or ACT exam, and it is crucial to know: 

  • What are the differences between the SAT and ACT exams?
  • What are the similarities when it comes to the SAT and ACT exams? 
  • What exam is the best fit for you?

Take a look at the following blogs for more information on the SAT and ACT exam:


Register to take PSAT or Pre-ACT

Once you have decided which test is the right one for you and also made sure that your list of potential colleges will accept the exam, it is time to sign up for the Pre-SAT or Pre-ACT exam. Taking the PSAT or PACT exam will give you a better understanding of what the actual exam will be like and give you are starting point when it comes to content, your skill level, and what you need to learn. 


Develop a standardized test plan for the SAT or ACT

Now that you have taken the PSAT/PACT exam and have a better idea of what is expected, it is time to start studying for the SAT/ACT exam. Some of you may think that your sophomore year is too early, but many tutoring programs state that preparation should start 1 year before the exam is taken. If you do the math, that means you should begin to study for the SAT/ACT exam the second semester of your sophomore year. Take a look at this 1-year study plan to get a better idea of how to prepare over the next year. 

One-year study plan for the SAT/ACT


Learn about careers and think about a potential career options

It is only natural to start thinking about what job you may want to have when you “grow-up.” With all this talk about the SAT and ACT exam and the college application process, it is important to have a general idea of what you may want to do down the road. Don’t worry, it is perfectly normal for you to change your mind, but it might be worth some mental brain space to start thinking about a possible career path.  


Start looking into colleges 

Start to research some of the universities and colleges in your area to get a sense of what your state has to offer. Feel free to look beyond the geographic borders of your state into other institutions that may have what you want when it comes to higher education. Right now, it is just about making sure you know all of your options when it comes to colleges. Making sure you aren’t putting off tomorrow, what you can do today. 

Take a look at the following blog if you want more info about picking the right college


Hopefully, this checklist helps you to get a better understanding of what lies ahead when it comes to high school and the college application process. With each item you check off this list, you will be one step closer to preparing for college and a potential career path.


 “Take small steps every day and one day you will get there” ~Author unknown 

How can MINDSPIRE help with your student?

At MINDSPIRE, we provide tutoring and test prep that is tailored to specific learning styles and individual needs. If you are interested in getting a tutor for any standardized exam, contact us or give us a call at 844-537-PREP (7737).

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