Ivy League Admission Tips: Preparing for College Admissions as a Sophomore

Your sophomore year of high school is a valuable opportunity to develop strong academics and engage in activities that will strengthen your admissions profile. At this stage, you should determine what subjects and activities you excel at and enjoy. This will help you develop a compelling application theme.

The longer you wait to develop your theme, the weaker your admissions profile will be. Further, your academic responsibilities will pile up as you get closer to junior year, leaving you with less time to narrow down your interests. Therefore, use your sophomore year to identify the subject area that captivates you the most.

Academic Planning

At most high schools, students are allowed to start taking AP, IB, and other honors courses during their sophomore year. If this is the case in your high school, you should plan on taking as many advanced courses as possible. Strive to take on an intensive and demanding course load.

The grades you achieve during sophomore year will be an important part of your admissions profile. Thus, do your best and stay on top of homework. If you are struggling with a certain course, consider asking your teacher for help.

Standardized Testing

Your performance on the ACT or the SAT will be another important element of your admissions profile. Familiarizing yourself with these tests will help you to achieve a high score.

You should take the PSAT as a sophomore. Colleges will only see your SAT scores, so you can take the PSAT as many times as possible without any penalties. Your performance on the PSAT will show you where you need to improve to achieve a higher score on the SAT.

You will also be able to take the ACT or the SAT. Students are allowed to take the ACT up to 12 times, so you will certainly be able to try it again. There is no limit on the number of times you can take the SAT. Furthermore, you will be able to select your best score on each section to create an overall “superscore.”

Keep in mind, however, that colleges typically want applicants to send all their ACT and SAT scores, so you should limit the number of times you take each test. Too many attempts with little growth will weaken your admissions profile.

Extracurricular Activities

At the start of sophomore year, you should assess your extracurriculars and determine whether you want to pursue different activities. This is an ideal time to make such changes because you’ll still have three years to focus on any new extracurriculars.

Summer Activities

Another important Ivy League admission strategy is to look into possible summer activities during winter break. For example, you might consider studying abroad over the summer, which would give you the opportunity to focus on an academic subject while gaining international exposure and, perhaps, a new language.

Alternatively, you might consider finding a job or an internship at a business or organization (such as a nonprofit or a law firm) related to your interests. An internship or a job would provide you with valuable education, real-world experience, and an expanded network. It may even open doors to future opportunities.

Whatever activities you choose, make sure that they fit in with your overall application theme and contribute to your narrative.

Early in the summer, you should take some time to look up colleges online. By now, you may have a fairly good idea of which top colleges appeal to you. If you are fairly certain about which schools you want to apply to, consider visiting one or more colleges in June or July.

Sophomore year is an ideal opportunity to strengthen your academics and identify your interests. Book an initial consultation with our managing director to learn more about how Ivy League Prep can help you craft an exceptional admissions profile.