So you've successfully acclimated to high school life now what? Just because you know the lay of the land doesn't mean your adventures stop during sophomore year. In fact, this just might be the best year to explore new activities and interests that might just impact the rest of your life. Here are the top six things that should be on every students sophomore year bucket list.
1. Take the PSAT: Okay, so it doesn't sound too thrilling. But taking the PSAT is a great way to start hunting for the perfect college. The PSAT will give you a fairly good idea of the colleges you should be looking at and how you stack up to high schoolers across the country. Also, anything involving the SAT is sort of a right of passage, isn't it?
2. Spend time on your own: Whether this means attending a pre-college summer program at a university or working at a sleep-away camp, spend at least past of your summer away from home. Not only will you come back with a new sense of independence, but it will give you a taste of what its like to be away from home in a totally new place with totally new people. Its a great way to test the waters of what college will be like.
3. Volunteer: Take time to give back. You'll feel really good about yourself and helping others, and its a great resume builder, (always a bonus) as colleges appreciate students with a philanthropic side. Especially if you have a summer free, spend time helping those who aren't as lucky as you. Its also a great way to expand your social circle to include other students who have the same values and passions as you do.
4. Embrace the arts: Unfortunately, were not all artistically gifted but that doesn't mean we cant try! Even if third grade art class wasn't your thing, finding a way to express yourself creatively is extremely important. Whether this means picking up a new instrument, taking a local ceramics class on the weekends, or embracing your inner Taylor Swift and taking a stab at song writing, figure out what speaks to you and do it explore your inner artist.
5. Have an adventure: Now, I cant exactly tell you what this adventure is going to be that'll depend on you. But heres the deal: college application essays are hard. Teachers will spend most of your junior year explaining how to craft the perfect topic for your common app essay. So heres the solution: have an adventure. Take a risk, try something new, learn about a different culture. The more adventures you take, the more material you'll have come common app season.
6. Apply for scholarships: One of the biggest regrets that I have from high school is not applying for more scholarships. There are tons of awards and essay contests you can apply for, just hit Google and start searching. College is expensive, but there are about a million different scholarships you can start applying for to help ease the burden.
About the author: Emily Grier is a senior at Penn State University earning her Bachelors and Masters of Accounting. Emily was a 2011 Collegiate Correspondent for USA Today College and former managing editor of Valley Magazine, Penn States life and style publication. Shes been published on seventeen.com, The Huffington Post, Her Campus, Thought Catalog, and in The Pennsylvania CPA Journal. She spent Fall 2012 interning in London, England.