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10th Grade To-Do List

To give yourself an edge in the college application process, here are some things you should do throughout your sophomore year in high school. This list provides quick and efficient ways to get you organized and in control. Feel free to personalize it in order to suit your own needs and application checklist 10th grade high school sophomore

Check out the other lists for 9th, 11th, and 12th grade to review and plan ahead.


  • Extracurricular Activities: Choose a new activity and/or continue to participate in activities you have already chosen. Keep track of hours or weeks spent on each activity, plus a detailed description of these activites and your involvement in them.
  • Community Service: Continue to volunteer for the organization(s) to which you have already committed. Add more if you like.
  • Local College Fairs: Check dates at NACAC or in the counseling office and plan to attend in order to familiarize yourself with colleges that interest you. Introduce yourself to admissions officers who will represent your region when you apply.
  • Academic Support: If you are struggling with a subject, talk to your counselor about getting help.
  • Student Resume: Keep track of all your jobs, activities, hobbies, favorite books and films. Update it regularly.

Create a Portfolio if you have any Special Talents or Hobbies to Present. Over your high school years, collect a large manilla envelope containing examples of your special talents or hobbies. This can also be done digitally on a USB drive or online portfolio.

Your School Counselor: Set up a meeting to plan the most challenging 11th grade academic schedule you can handle, including AP and honors classes. Consider taking a second foreign language for two years and any other suggestions your counselor has.


  • Start to explore college enrichment programs for high school students.
  • Find a summer job, internship or volunteer opportunity in your community, out of state, or with an international program.
  • Begin to research colleges that interest you. Take virtual college tours and read student reviews and blogs.
  • Browse The Fiske Guide to Colleges in order to compare, contrast, and critique a wide selection of schools.
  • Make campus visits to colleges that interest you, preferably those that will be in session during your spring break.
  • If you are interested in a specific college, early contact with that school's admissions office could help your chances when you apply.

Ready, Aim, Fire!

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It's time to start your college search. But not so fast. Do a little research first. Check out informative college websites, take an online tour, read reliable college guide books and get feedback from friends who are already in college. Deciding where you will fit in and thrive for four years to come is a journey with many detours. So don't rush it. Give yourself plenty of time to get lost, change directions or stop and refuel.


Try It On First

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How do you know where you want to go to college? What do you do to find out? The answer is found through personal experience. Visit a variety of local colleges and universities. You need to hang out at a sprawling state university, sit in on a seminar at a small liberal arts college, check out an 8'x10' dorm room, and eavesdrop on students in the dining hall. After doing this personal research, you'll be surprised at what fits, and what doesn't.


Highlight Your Passion

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Colleges want a renaissance class made up of all types of students. What is your special talent? What sets you apart? Everyone has something they are passionate about, whether it’s quirky, off-the-beaten-path or more mainstream. Your individual passion is the thing that sets you apart from other college applicants and will ultimately round out a diverse class. Susan's specialty is to draw out your uniqueness and show you how to successfully communicate “who you are.”


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