SAT and Admissions Timeline: Sophomore Year
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Congratulations—you survived freshman year! Most students begin to feel more comfortable in high school during their 10th grade year, but you can't completely relax when it comes to college admissions.
Continue to take challenging classes. If your school offers Honors courses, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program, or Advanced Placement (AP) classes, consider enrolling in them, especially in subject areas in which you excel. Revisit your freshman teachers to continue building a relationship with this future reference for college, and treat your new teachers with the same respect and friendliness. You should also schedule a yearly meeting with your counselor to discuss your schedule and your testing calendar.
Speaking of tests, it's time to take the PSAT and the PLAN. The PSAT, or the Preliminary-SAT, is given by your high school in October. You should take this test as a sophomore and again as a junior in order to practice for the real SAT and to qualify for scholarships. The PLAN test is an introductory ACT test and career inventory, also given by local high schools. The test is administered only to sophomores, typically between September and December. You must see your guidance counselor to sign up for both tests. For more information, read the PowerScore articles on the PSAT and the PLAN.
You may have narrowed your participation in extracurricular activities after trying several different pursuits during your freshman year. This is wise; admissions boards prefer that applicants have one or two passions rather than a wide variety of part-time activities. During your sophomore year, observe the leadership roles available in your club or organization. What does it take to be captain of the swim team or secretary of the student government? Choose a leadership position that would compliment your abilities, and spend your sophomore year working towards earning that position the following year.
Once again, take any SAT Subject Tests or AP Exams that correspond with your sophomore courses. Taking these immediately upon the completion of your course can save you from having to re-study the curriculum in the future.
You should also sit down with your counselor or your parents to evaluate your sophomore year grades. Based on your discussion, set goals and select courses for your junior year.