Sophomore Goals: Begin your College Search and begin to define the University of You™.

As a high school sophomore, you’re probably already starting to get pokes and prods from well-meaning relatives and friends who are curious about your college plans. However, you might not even know where to start! The college search process can be overwhelming. We’ve created a short list of tasks you can complete as a sophomore to yield the best chances for college admission and the smoothest college search journey this side of the Mississippi.

Begin your College Search, define the University of You™.

College Planning Sophomore Year 1It’s sophomore year, time to put your big kid pants on! It’s also time to begin your College Search, either on your own or with help. As a freshman, hopefully you took your first official college campus tour. Now, it’s time to ramp that up. Visit college options that interest you. We can help you find ‘hidden gems’ that could reward you financially for your academic and other achievements. Many students choose to work with us on their college search process starting sophomore year. Seize the day! The best way to learn more about a school is by taking the official college campus tour! If you’re not sure what this looks like, you can schedule a free consult anytime in person (for those near Madison, Wisconsin) or via video conference (for those outside the Madison area) and get your questions answered.

In addition to college campus visits, do online research about colleges that interest you. You can also contact college admissions staff via phone and email (advisors, professors, department heads, Honors department, etc.). They’re there to answer your questions, and can send you information via mail and email. This will give you a better feel of the offerings and vibe at each school on your growing list of college prospects. Also, don’t forget to make use of free college planning resources, such as your high school guidance counselor or websites like! 

Take Academic Commitment to the Next Level.

Just as sophomore athletes move up from the freshman team to the JV team, continue to add to your academic skill set throughout your sophomore year. Take academics to the next level in terms of commitment and the way you challenge yourself. Remember, the cumulative GPA you use to apply to colleges will be based on three (not four) years of high school. Sophomore year is prime time for dropping dimes in the classroom. Continue to build your academic stats, and you’ll end up with solid credentials by the time you apply to college. This could mean increasing your GPA, maintaining a rigorous curriculum, or even taking your first AP class (remember, AP exam credits often translate to less Gen Eds in college, which means you save money.) 

Practice Makes Perfect.

The only way to practice the ACT is to actually take a practice ACT exam. The Pre-ACT, and Aspire test are different tests and don’t offer the same insight as a full-length practice ACT exam. At OnCampus College Planning, we offer free Practice Exams monthly. Sign up online! 

Schedule your first practice ACT exam during the spring of your sophomore year. This will give you a benchmark heading into your junior year, so that you’ll know where you currently stand in relation to admission or merit aid thresholds. After taking your first practice exam and getting your score back, you can look at the Affordability/Scholarships page of your college options—which often contain information about ACT requirements for varying levels of merit aid—and see how much money you’d receive without seeking further test prep help. Compare that to what you could earn if you increase your ACT score. Nearly all college websites have a net price calculator located somewhere within the site, which allows you to plug in financial data and/or GPA and test scores to see your expected cost of attendance. 

Schedule a Free Practice Exam now. 

Put Your College Search to the Test.

Sophomores, plan ahead. Before the first day of junior year, pick an official ACT/SAT Exam Date that’s BEFORE winter break of junior year based on your schedule and when you can focus. Make sure to prepare for this exam and do your best. ACT Exams are offered each year in February, April, June, July, September, October and December. 

Need Assistance? We’ve Got You Covered.

College Planning Sophomore Year 5We offer one-on-one ACT test prep, as well as a program called University of You™ College Search. University of You™ College Search is our exclusive process, designed and led by college planner Tom Kleese. Student and parents gain the ability to make confident, well-informed college decisions. With our exclusive University of You™ College Search Discovery Process, you’ll gain a crystal-clear picture of yourself and your college goals. You’ll learn to clearly articulate what you want, need, don’t want and don’t need in your ideal college experience. What emerges is the “University of You”, your unique definition of the school that best matches your unique abilities, interests and aspirations. We’ll then help you discover amazing college options, including hidden gems and high-value schools that will reward you financially, academically and personally for your achievements.