How to Prepare for College as a Sophomore

The college search and application process is incredibly important. The sooner you start preparing, the more successful and enjoyable this journey will be. There are plenty of things sophomores can be doing. Here are some tips on how to be proactive throughout 10th grade.

1. Cataloging Your Activities

When it comes time to fill out your college applications, you will need to provide a list of the activities in which you participated throughout high school. When you get to senior year, you may not remember everything you did in freshman and sophomore year and when you did it. To make completing the activities section of the application easier and less stressful, you should start informally cataloging your activities during your sophomore year, if you have not already started doing so. Be sure to include the name of the organization, a brief description of the activity you performed, the date, and the amount of time spent on the activity (Average hours per week and weeks per year). Keeping a running journal of these activities in a notebook or on a computer works just fine. Wondering what types of activities are important? Read What Do Colleges Look for in Extracurricular Activities.

2. Start Drafting Your Student Resume

Once you start tracking those activities, you should take it one step further and start drafting your resume. What is that? Well, it is a more formal document that highlights all of your activities and accomplishments – from honors and sports to leadership and volunteering to hobbies and jobs. As mentioned above, you will need to include this information on your college applications. And, if you do it as you go along, you may be able to copy and paste the information into the Common App, or other applications, when the time comes. Our article How to Make an Activities Resume for College Applications has some great advice to help you prepare for application time.

3. Begin to Research Colleges

You will want to start making a list of colleges that interest you. You can start by searching for colleges that have the major or interests you want to pursue. If you don’t know what you want to do, move on to location, size, demographics, activities, school personality, etc. Read What to Look for When Searching for Colleges for more detailed information. Once you have compiled a list, then take a deeper dive into each school. The goal is to find your SAFE schools – schools that match you Socially, Academically, Financially and Emotionally. Our article How to Find the Best College for Me takes a closer look at this concept.

4. If Possible, Go on College Visits

The best way to get a feel for a school is to step foot on its campus and to ask the right questions. Sophomore year is the ideal time to start visiting schools. Junior year will be a busy one and time will get away from you faster than you think! So take advantage of your free time during sophomore year and visit college campuses. If a school is too far to visit, or the pandemic is halting tours, virtual tours and information sessions are a great way to start to get a feel for the school. Our College Visit Planner, College Visit Checklist and Good Questions to Ask on a College Tour will help prepare you for your visit or virtual information session.

5. Focus on Your Grades

It is important that you keep up with your studies. The transcript is the first thing that a college will look at because it is the best trend of who you are a student. Don’t forget, you’re going to college because you’re going to be getting a degree. So admissions officers will be placing a strong emphasis on your grades.

These are just some of the main things you can do as a sophomore to prepare for the college search and application process.

Looking for help with the college search and application process? We help students and families through the entire college planning journey – from search, applications and essays to interview prep, financial aid consultation and final school selection.

Contact us at or by phone, 845.551.6946. We work with students through Zoom, over the phone, and by email.