3 Tips for Incoming High School Sophomores

Article-Photos52It’s common for incoming high school freshmen to worry over their first year of high school. When you reach sophomore year, however, the learning curve is far gentler because you’re already familiar with classmates, teachers, and school policies. It’s still important, though, to remain intentional about the way you navigate your sophomore year. The following suggestions can provide you with a sense of what to consider as you plan your second year of high school:

Manage your friends carefully

During freshman year, a wise student will reach out and get to know as many people as possible. The vast array of new faces awaiting an incoming freshman presents a ready group of new friends and acquaintances. Sophomores, however, should begin to identify the particular friendships that they wish to invest significant time in cultivating. A sophomore who spreads their time too thin, on the other hand, can fall into a pattern that will be difficult to break as high school draws to a close. Students should think about what kind of person they hope to become and find people who share some of those interests (although it is also beneficial to diversify your friendships to learn about different life perspectives). Additionally, students should ensure they do not spend time with peers who may negatively influence them or distract them from their goals and aspirations.

Invest outside school as well

High school students can easily find themselves trapped in a school-related bubble: extracurricular activities, homework, sports, fundraisers, and other events. Students can quickly come to spend almost all of their time at school with the same group of peers. While it is important to stay connected and involved at your school, neglecting to explore outside that bubble can breed a lack of perspective, leading students to overestimate the importance of their social groups relative to the broader world. It can become difficult to remember the reality that there are other opportunities and social circles outside school that are at least as rich and promising as those found in high school. Stay an active participant of the activities at your high school, but also search for ways to encounter people whose perspectives go far beyond that of other high school sophomores. Study a new language, or volunteer at an animal shelter or nursing home.

Think about college (before you must)

Sophomore year is a chance for students to delve deeper and explore what they truly desire out of life—before the questions of what college or university to attend and what major to choose bombard them in their junior and senior years. Cast a wide net, and become involved in various activities that have the potential to lead you to a desired career path. This will double as preparation for those pesky college questions, which will soon become frequent.

Sophomore year can be one of the best years of your high school experience. Rarely again will the opportunity to explore the world so thoroughly present itself. Approach this opportunity intentionally, keep a long-term perspective, and have fun!


This article was written by Caleb Zimmerman

Caleb Zimmerman is a professional writing and test-prep tutor for Varsity Tutors. He graduated from The King's College in New York City in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in politics, philosophy, and economics.

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