Spring 2012 Must-Dos for High School Students
Whether you're a freshman or a senior, there's something you can be doing now for your college search.
By Kathryn Knight Randolph
February 17, 2012
Though this winter has been unseasonably warm in most areas of the U.S., it’s still been winter, meaning you may have spent more time getting lost in hours of TV dramas and Facebook than appropriate. But spring is just around the corner, and with that, it’s time to spring into action in your college and scholarship search.
Whether you’re a high school freshman or finishing up your high school career, there’s something you can be doing now to better your college and scholarship search.
High School Freshmen
Start thinking about courses you want to take next semester. While this year has been all about getting acclimated to the high school curriculum, this next year should be about pushing yourself academically. If you’ve never taken honors courses, sign up to take a few in your sophomore year. They will be great practice for AP courses, which you should start taking your junior year.
Also, get more involved. New opportunities to participate in extracurricular or volunteer activities inside and out of school will be cropping up more in the warmer months. This is your chance to explore interests outside of what you already do, which will look great on your resume when applying to colleges in a few years.
You’ll be taking the PSAT and/or the PLAN next semester as a sophomore. Look for any opportunities offered by your school or community to study and practice for these tests. They are the best preparation for the SAT and ACT, which you’ll need to take during your junior year.
Finally, start your scholarship search. It’s never too soon to start looking for scholarships, and you might as well start now when you’re not devoting time to your college search and applications as well.
High School Sophomores
Like high school freshmen, sophomores need to seriously consider their class schedule for next year. If you’re taking regular classes now, add a few honors courses to next year’s schedule. And if you’ve been taking honors courses this year, it’s time to step up your game and sign up for your school’s AP courses.
By now, you’ve taken the PSAT and PLAN at your school so it’s time to begin SAT and ACT test prep. Some high school counselors will advise you to take both tests and see which test yields better results. You can also look at your PSAT and PLAN scores, determine which you performed better on and then focus on that preliminary test’s equivalent.
High School Juniors
This year is crucial to your college and scholarship search. While you may have seen a limited number of scholarships available to you as a freshman or sophomore, the door of possibilities is wide open to you as a junior.
In terms of the college search, it can’t be stressed enough that you should start doing as much as possible to progress your college search this year. A lot of students wait until the start of their senior year to begin their search, and that’s quite a lot to pack on top of school, extracurriculars and the scholarship search.