10th Grade/Sophomore Year: Explore college and learn more about yourself
(presented by SUNY - click here for actual page)
Get ready for college tests.
Begin your year by practicing and then taking the PSAT and/or PLAN - PSAT is the pre-SAT test and PLAN is the pre-ACT test. Consult your counselor about taking either or both of these tests in the 10th grade to help you prepare for the SAT or ACT college entrance exams, which you will take in the 11th and/or 12th grades.
Visit the College Board and ACT Web sites to learn about these assessments and take the practice tests.
Get to know yourself.
Learn more about your personality, skills, abilities, likes, and dislikes. An understanding of these will assist in determining what career will bring you the most satisfaction. There are many assessments available to assist you in learning more about yourself such as the Campbell Interest and Skills Survey, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Self-Directed Search, and Strong Interest Inventory. Check with your counselor to see which are available through your high school.
Talk to your family, friends, teachers, and counselor and ask for their perceptions about what you do well. Then, ask yourself questions and make a list of your answers. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What are 5 things I like to do?
- Which classes do I enjoy?
- Which classes do I least enjoy?
- How would my friends describe me?
- How would my family describe me?
- What 5 adjectives describe me?
- What are 5 of my strengths?
- What are 5 of my weaknesses?
- What 3 accomplishments am I most proud?
- What careers or professions are attractive to me?
Explore careers that interest you.
Consider volunteering or job shadowing in a career that interests you. Ask people whose jobs look or sound interesting to explain what they really do and how they got to where they are now. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- Describe your typical day?
- What did you study in college?
- What courses best prepared you for your career?
- What do you like most about your job?
- What do you like least about your job?
- What advice do you have for someone interested in this career?
Research job trends.
Find out more about the careers that interest you. What level of education is required? What is the average salary? What are the expected job prospects? The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics offers answers to these questions and provides information about occupational projections by state, as well as career exploration information.
Make a list of colleges that interest you.
- Do you wish to attend a large, medium or small-sized college or university?
- In-state or out-of-state?
- Public or private?
- Two-year or four-year?
- How important is cost?
- How important are clubs, activities and sports?
- Does your list include colleges and universities that offer your areas of academic interest?
Explore free college search programs designed to assist you in finding colleges that are a good match. Here are some that can help.
Begin visiting college campuses.
It’s not too early to begin visiting campuses. Check Web sites for information about campus tours and open house programs, as well as summer opportunities such as workshops and camps - these are often referred to as pre-college programs. Remember a visit is not a commitment to attend a college but rather an opportunity to experience a campus first-hand.
The College Board offers tips on planning your visit, as well as suggestions on when to visit and how to prepare for your visit.
Start saving for college now.
Check out the College Board’s Financial Aid EasyPlanner to learn how to make college affordable and investigate free scholarship searches, such as here, to learn about scholarship opportunities.
The courses you take in high school are important Take academics seriously and keep your grades up. Get to know your teachers, counselor and principal. Get involved. Make the most of your summer.