Grade 10

Students will take the PSAT/NMSQT exam for the first time, which is a more advanced form of this test. This will allow them to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship as well as the National Honors Society.  The final MAP test can be examined to determine strengths. This year you should be developing strategies to prepare for the SAT or ACT.

Start looking for leadership opportunities. You might look into being an officer in a club, come up with a new club, or dedicate yourself to an independent activity. Consider joining NHS / STUCO / Interact. This is also a good time to consider internships and other opportunities to enhance your application.

If your freshman-year grades weren’t as high as you would have hoped, don’t worry too much; you can catch up. In fact, an upward grade trend—a steady rise in your GPA from one year to the next—can be beneficial to your application.

However, now you really need to buckle down. Don’t get complacent; your graders matter more this year. Check out How to Beat the Sophomore Slump in High School for more tips on keeping your grades up. 

You will have more choices in courses this year. Make sure to challenge yourself with APs. You don’t need to take every AP available, but if you think you can handle the course load, take the course. You should definitely pursue challenging courses in your speciality—the area in which you want to focus in college. For instance, if you’re a Maths whiz and future engineer, that means the honors track for math and AP Calculus at some point. You should also explore your specialty through electives and additional courses.

Now is the time when you should start thinking about where you want to go to college. While you may have your eye on the most selective schools, you should also be considering other factors like location, size, type, and student body. Begin to research programs that you are interested in and record the specifics of the application process.