It may feel like college is a lifetime away, but the truth is, sophomore year of high school is a perfect time for your child to start exploring potential colleges and thinking about the future. Just ask the experts at Peterson’s: “Tenth grade is a banner year for most kids. For the most part, the classes your child takes this year will determine the courses your child will be qualified to take in grades 11 and 12.”
As your children settle into their second year of high school, use the fall semester to initiate a college-related conversation and find ways to boost the caliber of their transcripts. Ultimately, this can help give them a better chance of getting into the college they want.
College planning for parents or guardians
At the start of the school year, encourage your child to speak with the school counselor to discuss options for preliminary exams, such as practicing for the PSAT. While the SAT practice test is more commonly taken by high school juniors, practice makes perfect, and it’s never too early to form critical reading, writing, and math skills that can help improve SAT and ACT scores.
Make sure your children meet and develop a comfortable relationship with their school counselor. By doing so, they’ll feel more ready to contact them with questions they may have about college or career options, financial aid, and AP courses. This is also an opportunity for your children to ensure that they take all the courses they need, such as a foreign language or chemistry.
In addition to preparing for standardized tests, encourage your child to attend a college fair. College fairs provide an opportunity to meet with college representatives, ask important questions, and collect resources. A few days before the event, make a strategic plan with your children and determine what type of questions they will ask. Since this is just their sophomore year of high school, their questions may not be as thorough as if they were in junior or senior year. However, it’s still an opportunity to ask meaningful questions that may affect their decisions down the road. Most important, don’t push this exploration too early, as your child may not be ready. If you feel your child is prepared, college planning during sophomore year can lighten the burden later on.
Finally, encourage your child to get involved in extracurricular activities, volunteer programs, or even a part-time job or internship. In addition to having a strong academic record, taking part in school and community activities can boost your child’s maturity and self-esteem, as well as add interesting experience to college applications.