Sophomore Year High School Checklist

by Shahar Link | Sep 3, 2019 | General Education, Test Prep

A well structured plan is essential for high school success.


As you begin your sophomore year of high school it is important to adopt the mindset of preparedness. Your life is becoming more complex: you’re juggling schoolwork, extracurriculars, athletics, family obligations, and social activities.


Your sophomore year of high school is the best time to begin organizing your academic life and preparing for the college application process. It’s the time to lay out a plan for the more demanding academic schedule that you’ll need in your junior and senior years.


Evaluate your course load

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

  • Am I taking the right classes to help prepare for my junior year?
  • Do I plan to take AP Classes?
  • 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?
  • Picking the best courses for the SAT and ACT.


Make a list of extracurricular activities that interest you

Your high school career is about creating a well-rounded learning experience. You must, of course, focus on your studies, but it is also essential to participate 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?


Think about volunteering

Volunteering your time to charitable organizations and participating in community outreach is a great way to help others, learn more about the community in which you live, and develop your personal character. Many high schools include a minimum number of community service hours as a graduation requirement. Make sure you know your school’s policy.


College may seem to be in the distant future but you should have your college resume on your mind now. Finding philanthropic opportunities that speak to who you are can set you apart from other applicants. If you are passionate about the environment, for instance, you may be interested in groups that help clean up local waterways and/or those that lobby local governments for ecological stewardship and change.



Think about which exam you will take junior year (SAT vs. ACT)

Your junior year of high school is the best time to first take the SAT/ACT to learn where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

  • What are the differences between the SAT and ACT?
  • What are the similarities when it comes to the SAT and ACT?
  • Which 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 the PSAT or Pre-ACT

Once you have decided which test is the right one for you and ensured that your list of potential colleges will accept that exam, it is time to sign up for the Pre-SAT or Pre-ACT exam. Many students’ high schools will provide either or both for free. Taking the PSAT or PACT in your Sophomore year will give you a better understanding of what the actual exam will be like and give you a baseline for content, your skill level, and what you need to learn.


Develop a standardized test plan for the SAT or ACT

After you have taken the PSAT/PACT exam and know what is expected, it is time to start studying for the SAT/ACT. In order to be best prepared and to not feel overwhelmed, study should start 1 year before the exam is taken. See the following example of a 1-year study plan:

One-year study plan for the SAT/ACT


Learn about careers and think about potential career options

It is only natural to start thinking about what career you may want to pursue. It is important to have a general idea of what career path you may want to follow, since different colleges may be a better fit for your chosen field than others. You are certainly not expected to make a final commitment, but you can narrow down your options if you start thinking now.


Begin to research colleges

Start to research the universities and colleges in your area to get a sense of what your state has to offer. Look beyond the borders of your state to learn about the higher education opportunities that exist elsewhere. This initial research will give you some insight into what type of college appeals to you. Do you prefer a small private college or a large public university? Are you excited by the possibility of attending school out of state or would you prefer to remain closer to family?

The following articles can help guide your research:


The college application process can be overwhelming at times. Through early preparation, study, and research, you can minimize the stress and anxiety. Starting to prepare in your sophomore year allows you plenty of time to ensure success.


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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