Sophomore Tutorial

When and What to do:


Search the databases on the college page by putting in information or criteria you desire from a college.  This will help you find colleges that have majors, activities, and courses you want. Try to explore, find out requirements for and research 10-15 colleges in which you are interested.  It is important that you know the requirements or prerequisites for the colleges you are interested in and ensure you are taking the appropriate courses.  For example,  AP Calculus may be a prerequisite for the field of study you are choosing.  You need to know the course requirements for the college you choose.  Most of the time, this is not an issue because you are taking a college core track in high school, but you need to be responsible and know this for yourself.  Don’t assume that your counselor automatically knows what college you want to attend or the additional requirements that school may require for unconditional admission. You may request a course catalog from these colleges or go online to view the information.
Make sure you are staying in close contact with your counselor.  You should have a 4-6 year college/career plan.  Your counselor is your best resource to help you stay on track.
Talk with your counselor about taking the PLAN test.  This is the sophomore version of the ACT.  Even if you are planning on taking the ACT in the spring or even December, statistical information shows that the more opportunities you have to take a familiar formatted test the more likely you will be able to improve your score.  Also,  taking the PLAN is often paid for by your school district—if not –it is much less than taking the ACT.Ask your counselor if your school allows students the opportunity to take the PSAT for practice as a sophomore. Scoring well on the PSAT as a junior can give you a great start to scholarship opportunities.  Your PSAT score can qualify your for the National Merit scholarship competition.  Some colleges offer scholarships if you qualify as a National Merit, National Achievement, or National Hispanic Scholar semi-finalist.  MOST schools offer scholarships if you make it to finalist status.  GETTING THE OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE THE PSAT FOR PRACTICE AS A SOPHOMORE CAN HELP YOU PREPARE FOR TAKING IT AS A JUNIOR
If you have the opportunity to take a ACT/SAT preparation course provided by your school—TAKE IT!!!  If you do not have the opportunity, then get the Free practice test booklets from your counselor.  Go to the ACT/SAT pages in the site and you will find TEST Prep Help.  On the SAT page there is a link to the SAT Question of the Day.  Practice for the SAT by answering this question every day until you take the PSAT as a junior.  Answering the SAT question of the day everyday might take you at most 5 minutes.  This is a wonderful FREE way to familiarize yourself with the type of questions you will encounter on the PSAT.On the ACT and SAT pages in this site I recommend some test prep videos.  These are more for schools to purchase, but you and several of your friends could go in together to order these.  Each video comes with 10 workbooks. These videos show you how to do the problems in the workbooks, which are directly from previous tests.
Keep a running list of your activities, honors, and awards.

You may want to print off a Letter of Recommendation Request found on the Scholarship page.  Although you should not need this until possibly, your junior year and definitely your senior year, you may want to be familiar with this form because you will be using it later.

Practicing on essay writing will greatly help you prepare for the numerous essays you will be writing your senior year for admission and scholarship opportunities. If you need help on how to get started on your essay, go to the essay page in this Website.  There are several helpful links. Look especially at the 100+ free example essays on the Essay Edge link (first link on the Essay page). To access the “Essay” page select “Colleges” from the maroon toolbar and then select “Essays” at the top of the page.
If you have the opportunity over the summer months to visit college campuses, take it, even if it is just to look at the buildings. Find out if there are some summer activity opportunities you can take advantage of at a college near youOn the college page of this Website there is a PDF on the right hand side of the page under College Master’s Helpful College information  “College Visits”.  Print this off and look over the college visit question that are important to you.  Begin to make your own list of questions you want to ask.
Select Scholarships from the menu inside Tasseltime.  At the bottom of the scholarship page you will see a link that says Sophomore Calendar Tutorial and Sophomore Calendar Tutorial PDF – this is where all of this information I am giving you—step by step– is located– You will also see a link that says :Must Read Scholarship Information  this is a total overview of the whole scholarship process . This “Must Read Scholarship Information” document is something you will want to print to help you prepare for the scholarship/resume process.
On that Tasseltime must read information you are given a list of things that you need to gather BEFORE filling out a database profile or asking for a recommendation letter.  You will also want to gather this information prior to building or creating your resume.

  • List of all your activities/awards since 9th grade
  • List of all your courses/ACT/SAT scores ( should be on your transcript)
  • Any organizations or clubs you are/were in
  • Any significant awards you may have received prior to your  9th grade year i.e. Community Volunteer Citizen
  • Names of your parent’s current employer/organizations they are/were in
  • Information on families past military experience and your ethnicity/minority background and religious affiliation
  • List of all volunteer work done since 9th grade– if you are not volunteering—START  Do something in conjunction with Make-A Difference Day  (PDF form for record of Volunteering) .

If you have already been keeping a portfolio of work as well as a listing of your activities, awards, and honors, as recommended, then you are in good shape.  Don’t wait until your senior year to try to think back to your 9th grade year to find out all of this information

If you have not kept a formal record of volunteering you have done, then select the volunteer PDF form available on the scholarship page . You need to be volunteering or become a member to an organization or club that requires volunteering as a membership–such as National Honor Society. Volunteering is very important as you begin to apply for national scholarship opportunities.
Tell your coach now if you are interested in obtaining an athletic scholarship.  You need to look at clearinghouse information which you can get from your counselor, or obtain the information online for the NCAA Clearinghouse; the links are provided on the athletic page to help.  It is very important that you make sure you are in compliance with the NCAA in your total assessment scores (ACT or SAT) and in course work. Talk with your coach and counselor today.  Read the suggestions on the Athletic Page; they are at the top of the page under the heading: “If you want to participate in collegiate athletics you need to :“  You can not actually have the Clearinghouse form mailed to you until you complete 6 semesters.
If you are not sure what you want to do, complete several  online inventories provided on the Career page.  Really spend some time searching through the different occupations available. Find out the college courses required for that degree or the technical courses required for the career field .  Also look at the demand for the position and the salary range. Many of the interest inventory links are free.
Military information and Scholarship links are all provided so that you can find out any necessary information.  You need to speak with your recruiter to get started if the military path is your plan. There are many wonderful military options.
If you prefer to look at the scholarships individually rather than filling out the profile, then go to the Scholarship Page inside Tasseltime and in the upper right hand corner click on “Individual Scholarships” or “Minority Scholarships.”  The only drawback is that you will have to look at every single one of them to make see if you meet the requirements.
Select the Scholarship page from the tool bar inside the Tasseltime Website then select Scholarship Database at the top left corner of the page.  The databases on this page have been researched to provide the best information without taking students to some inappropriate sites.
Select at least 3-5 databases on this page to enter your information.  Some of these will e-mail you the scholarships you qualify for and some will just list them for you to select through while you are on the internet.  I suggest you set up an alternate e-mail address other than the one you regularly use.  Most Internet Service Providers offer 5-7 e-mail accounts with their service.  The reason you do this is because You Will Get CD Offers– this keeps your regular account free of that and allows you to use this separate account for ALL of your college correspondence (if you are going to use this e-mail address as a contact for your resume and or/ admissions information—select wisely  {don’t use “lazygirl” or “partyanimal” or “girlmagnet”}—select something somewhat professional)  Most of these databases will notify you of an added scholarship to your profile or will just e-mail you the link to that scholarship.  IT IS UP TO YOU TO DETERMINE IF THAT SCHOLARSHIP IS WORTH APPLYING!

What is the difference between a Key Word Search and a profile?

A key word search is for specific topics or majors to search by.

If you already started this process as a freshman or sophomore,  then you only need to update your information in the databases.

Example Profile:  From the Scholarship Page select State Scholarships in the top right hand corner.  The first link on this page is the Arkansas Scholarship Connection.  Try out the profile to gain Arkansas specific information.  Again IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO RESEARCH THESE SCHOLARSHIPS AND APPLY BY THE APPROPRIATE DEADLINE

End of June-September


If your school allows sophomores to attend a College Fair in your area, be sure to take advantage of this opportunity.  If your school does not allow you to participate during the day, many College Fairs have evening opportunities. Take the admissions questions we discussed earlier and ASK THE RECRUITER.  Take this opportunity to get a catalog from the colleges you are interested.

Continue researching scholarship opportunities by completing profiles for the national database searches.

If you want to search for scholarships without submitting a profile in a database then look at the individual scholarship page and the minority scholarship page.

Make sure you are using your time wisely and concentrating on your grades. Your academic resume, which is your performance or grades in your classes, is very important to scholarship opportunities.

Keep examples of work or projects in a portfolio.

Register for the December tests if needed. Take the PSAT in OCTOBER for practice.  Be sure you indicate on your PSAT form that you want to participate in the Student Search program provided through PSAT.Once you receive your PSAT scores, you can compare them to the ACT or PLAN scores to help determine if you want to take an SAT or ACT in future testing opportunities.


End of October-December


Continue to conduct online research concerning your prospective college choices.  Now would be a good time to complete an online request to obtain information from these colleges.

If you have not registered for the ACT previously, then you need to visit your counselor and obtain an ACT packet.  If this is your first time to register you have to fill out the paper version and mail it, but the next time you register you can complete this online.  Your counselor has free practice books or tests–get one and actually take the practice test.  Also go to the ACT page in Tasseltime to obtain access to other free practice tests and helpful test-prep material.

Follow the same steps for the SAT also.

If you have the opportunity to attend a spring College Fair, take it.  This will give you a good opportunity to really narrow your search going into your senior year.  Don’t just attend to get out of class!  Take this seriously, and ask some good questions (look at the handout on the College page “Campus Visits”).Find out if/when your school will be offering ACT/SAT prep summer workshop.  If there is not one in your area, partner with some friends to purchase a program you can complete together.  Do NOT WAIT until next summer to “Get Started” on preparing for testing opportunities and college.  START NOW!

Continue looking at scholarship opportunities for your junior, as well as  senior year.  I suggest you make a folder in your favorites called scholarships and start marking them in this folder; put a deadline date along with the scholarship name.

If you have the opportunity to take an ACT/SAT prep course, take it.   Research says that you have a good chance of increasing your test scores, if you complete a test prep course or computer software prep course.

Meet with your counselor to go over courses you need to take as a junior.

Volunteer this summer when you have the opportunity.