10th Grade - revised
Information provided by the Common Application - "How to Prepare" Series
In 10th grade, college is on your radar but entrance exams and applications are still on a distant horizon. Because of this, it’s normal to feel like you’ve entered a gray area in the realm of college preparation. After all, you’re realizing that you’re no longer a freshman – but not yet a junior.
So, what is sophomore year all about? Growth. Now, allow us to get metaphorical...
In 9th grade, you started exploring various opportunities and planting your roots in areas of interest. Now that you’re in 10th grade, your strengths are getting ready to blossom – but it’s up to you to sustain your growth by developing new skills and maintaining involvement in activities. Think of skills and involvement as the soil and water that will enable you to grow.
It’s important to develop these skills during 10th grade:
Reading comprehension is a core component of college entrance exams like the ACT and SAT. Both have critical reading sections, which will test your ability to retain and understand written English while simultaneously examining your vocabulary. What’s the best way to sharpen your comprehension skills? Read. Read as much as you can. Whether you enjoy books, blogs, newspapers or magazines, reading is the best way to expand your vocabulary and increase the speed and accuracy at which you absorb information – an ability that will benefit you at testing time, guaranteed.
By 10th grade, you’re not a stranger to class exams, pop quizzes, or standardized tests. However, the coursework is growing in difficulty and your teachers’ testing styles are different from middle school and 9th grade. Gone are the days of handholding and checking-in on nightly homework. Instead, you’re expected to keep-up with weekly reading and study on your own. It’s up to you to take charge when you don’t understand something – by meeting with your teacher during study hours and assembling peer study groups outside of the classroom. Your grades are important, and your study habits are the foundation of your success.
Time management skills.
Until now, you’ve grown accustomed to adults and teachers telling you what to do and when to do it. But as a sophomore (and every year in the future), you are responsible for managing your own workload by keeping track of exam dates and assignment deadlines. With this newfound independence, it’s easy to fall-victim to procrastination. Our advice to prevent falling behind? Make a daily to-do list and stick to it. Pretend that a test is earlier than it is to avoid night-before-cram-sessions. After all, college is all about balancing your time. The better you are at time management now, the better prepared you’ll be in the future.
It’s important to get involved during 10th grade:
Get involved in activities.
Whether you enjoy sports, music, art, theatre, student government or student newspaper, continue to take part in the activities that interest you.
Get involved in your community.
Volunteering is a great way to help others while discovering who you are and what you care about. Make community service a part of your life.
Note: All of the items on your 9th grade college checklist still apply today. Go back and review this list and then proceed to the 10th grade college checklist below.
Your 10th grade college checklist:
Meet with your school counselor regularly to ensure that you’re fulfilling your academic obligations.
You should be enrolled in courses that satisfy college requirements and challenge you. If you’re not feeling stimulated by your current courses, talk to your school counselor or teachers about advanced options.
Don’t have a counselor? You have more resources available to you than you probably realize. Talk to your teachers, school administrators, coaches or assistant principals – you can even contact admission officers at colleges across the country. All of these people would be happy to help you think about your future; all you have to do is ask!
Be conscious of opportunities.
Talk to your teachers to find out if any of your courses match with SAT Subject Tests. What are SAT Subject Tests? They are national admission tests required by certain colleges to showcase your interest and achievement in a specific subject.
Visit local colleges to get a feel for the type of college you may want to attend.
This will help provide a frame of reference for 11th grade, as you’ll have to start thinking about school size, location, and other specifications.
Sohomore Year Checklist
- Get to know your guidance counselor
- Focus on your academics (colleges look at your 9-12 grade gpa)
- Get involved in extracurricular activities
- Work on a portfolio (artists & athletes)
- Start or update your resume