There isn't a lot you need to do about college admissions during your freshman and sophomore years of high school. Nevertheless, this is a good time to start becoming informed about the process. It's never too early to do that. Also, 9th and 10th grades are school years when you can establish yourself as a good student and find extracurricular activities that are special to you.
Here is a list of things to do:
√ Start listening in on what upper-class students, teachers, counselors and others say about college admissions. If you see an admissions topic mentioned online, in a newspaper or magazine article, take a few minutes to read what it has to say.
√ Begin thinking about how you want to be involved this coming summer. Colleges are about as interested in what you do outside of school and your summers as they are in your academics. Make sure you choose something you really enjoy.
Summer Involvement Opportunities
If you want ideas about an array of summer courses, volunteer activities, special workshops and programs on college campuses, camps and/or sports activities, here are a few websites where you can see what's going on.
Stanford University's Educational Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY) has just announced its summer program for high school students. They offer three-week institutes on such subjects as Business and Entrepreneurship, Cryptography, and Screenwriting on the Stanford campus, as well as online courses.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) is a very respected organization with a website that also lists many cool things to do. Be sure to click on the many links listed on the site.
Duke's Talent Identification Program (TIP) program is for 9th-12th graders and offers short summer courses in such places as the Duke campus, Wake Forest, as well as field studies in Costa Rica, China, Florida and Ghost Ranch, New Mexico.
Here are other resources you can use to find good summer schools, activities and programs:
Know that there are many, many great programs around a variety of academic and other interests, especially at colleges and universities.
√ During school breaks and while on vacations, swing by any colleges that are nearby to have a look at what different colleges are like.
√ Attend a National Association of College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) spring college fair in the city in which you reside.
√ Take stock of how you are spending your time in and out of school. Is there anything you want to add or eliminate from your schedule? Make sure that everything you do is either something you enjoy or "counts" academically.
√ Decide whether you want to take any Subject Tests for advanced classes in which you are enrolled.
Language with listening tests are given only in November. Here are when Subject Tests will be given in 2013 that might correspond with your AP Tests.
Subject Tests 2013
Many colleges require or recommend two Subject Tests. No college requires more than 2. For a list of colleges that require and recommend Subject Tests, go to:
√ Pay attention when upperclassmen start talking about the best test tutoring online, at school or with an individual and/or group in your hometown so that you will know where to go for help during your junior year. Ask students and parents who just went through the testing process who they recommend.
√ Make sure that you are signed up for AP tests that are given at your school in May for any AP courses you are taking. (Just so you know, it is extremely rare for freshmen students to take AP courses. Only a few sophomores take AP tests, and usually for AP European History.)
√ Carefully choose your next year classes, taking into consideration the academic rigor of the program and balance in your life.
√ Finalize your summer plans. Remember to find things you love to do or at least enjoy.
√ Take the AP test for any AP class in which you are enrolled.
√ Ace your Finals.
√ Have a great summer and don't forget to relax and have some fun.
Follow Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/admissposs