Road Map for March: Sophomores

As you choose your junior year classes, remember that colleges consider the rigor of your curriculum in addition to your grades and test scores.  I always recommend a course load that is challenging but not overwhelming.  In other words, take the most challenging classes you can do well in unless it means losing sleep, giving up activities that are important to you, or generally making yourself miserable.

Will you be going on vacation for spring break? While this is prime time for juniors to visit colleges, you can take advantage of the opportunity as well.  A couple of early visits will start to give you a sense of what your search criteria might be—big or small school? Urban, suburban or rural setting? If you’re not traveling during your break, do your first tour locally.  You can register for visits online and the admissions office can usually arrange for you to sit in on a class or meet with a faculty member.  In addition to tours, you can learn about specific colleges by attending meetings at your high school with admission representatives who come to visit.  This is also a way to demonstrate your interest in specific colleges, which some schools consider as a factor in admissions.

Are you keeping a file on yourself and your achievements? Now is a great time to start one or update it.  Include academic information as well as extracurricular activities and accomplishments.  If you prepare the information in resume format you can use it to apply for jobs, internships or volunteer opportunities.  You can also upload files to the Locker on the Coalition Application and store them there for future reference.  Items like a graded paper, major project, or video of a presentation or performance can all be included to create a portfolio of your high school work that you can review or share later.