Sophomore Year College Planning
ACADEMICS - You want to be in classes that challenge you but don't overwhelm you. If you are a high-achieving student and are taking any AP classes as a sophomore, stay on top of the reading as they require a lot and students can easily fall behind . And if you've developed a strong interest in a certain area, be sure you are taking advantage of courses offered at LJHS, while understanding that schedule changes may not be possible.
EXTRA CURRICULARS - This is a good time to focus on three or four extracurricular activities that you really enjoy. Stay involved and keep track of everything you do on your Activities Resume. Look for ways to make a difference, become an officer, editor, captain, or leader, going beyond just being a member of the activity. Colleges want students who are involved in their schools and communities.
TESTING - In the few years prior to the pandemic, our school district offered the PSAT/NMSQT to sophomores, but that is no longer the case and the test is not currently offered to sophomores. While this test allows students to practice for the SAT, practice tests can be found online and anyone interested can also check library calendars, as many companies offer free practice tests several times a year at San Diego library branches. And it is of no additional benefit for students to take the PSAT/NMSQT as sophomores, as the NMSQT portion of the exam (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) only applies to students who take the test as juniors.
For students taking AP classes as sophomores, AP tests are offered in the spring, although sign-ups are much earlier in the school year, so keep an eye out. Students who take an AP class often take the AP test, as that can earn students college credits for certain scores, or allow students to test out of certain college courses (which saves time and money).
SERVICE ACADEMIES - Applying to a service academy is involved and students must start the process early. If you are interested in attending a Service Academy check out the details and requirements on the individual school's websites. Application process begins in junior year, so as a sophomore, you need to begin your research and possibly apply to attend special programs during the summer between sophomore and junior year. For more information:
US Military Academy (Army) - https://www.westpoint.edu/admissions;
US Air Force Academy - https://www.academyadmissions.com/,
US Coast Guard Academy https://www.uscga.edu/admissions/, or
US Merchant Marine Academy - https://www.usmma.edu/admissions.
COLLEGE RESEARCH - Tour a local college to get familiar with what to look for in a college. We are fortunate to have four different colleges in our back yard and touring students can get a feel for different types of colleges from small religious to large public. Check out San Diego State, UC San Diego, University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene. Discuss college selection and financing with parents.
KEEP YOUR GRADES UP! - Identify any subjects you may be struggling with and get the help you need. Grades are the most important determinant of where you can go to college and good grades allow maximum college options.