Class of 2021

Make Extracurricular Activities Count

Extracurricular activities can help improve discipline, determination, commitment, communication, and social connection—which are all skills needed to succeed in high school and beyond. Our advice? Take advantage of as many of these opportunities as you can.

These activities can help you:

  • Build leadership skills
  • Become a team player
  • Nurture your creativity
  • Expand your experiences
  • Enhance your abilities
  • Identify your strengths

In addition, colleges appreciate hard work and want to attract students who have interests and strengths beyond the books­—and, in some cases, you can earn money toward your college education for success in extracurricular activities.

Build Your College Knowledge

Did you know that people with college degrees or certifications earn about 56% more than those who only have a high school diploma? Believe it or not, your sophomore year isn’t too early to start thinking about selecting a college.


Here are 4 things you can do this year to start preparing for life after high school:

  • Start searching. Exploring different schools online will help you learn about all the different opportunities and offerings available. Be sure to bookmark your favorite options so you can check back as a junior and stay on top of deadlines.

  • Attend college fairs. Talk to college reps about your interests and if you would be a good fit. Learning more about the schools you’re interested in can help you decide if you want to visit the campus.

  • Go on a college visit or two. Visiting a college or university campus can help you visualize yourself there, and that can help motivate you to make college a goal and a priority the next few years.

  • Keep a scholarship list. Throughout your high school experience, you may hear about classmates receiving college scholarships and financial aid. Pay attention to these awards and keep a list. When you’re a senior, you can review this list and apply for the scholarships you qualify to receive.

Are You on Track to Complete Your Core Courses?

Core courses are the building blocks for college and your career. Meet with your counselor to make sure you’re on a path to get all your core courses covered during high school.

Prior to meeting with your counselor, you should be ready to discuss your interests, goals, and grades. 

ACT recommends you complete this coursework in high school:

  • English: 4 years 
  • Math: 3 years (including algebra I, geometry, and algebra II) 
  • Science: 3 years (including biology, chemistry, and physics) 
  • Social Studies: 3 years

Remember, requirements vary from college to college. Be sure to talk with your counselor or look online for specific requirements once you begin to narrow down your college search.