Freshman & Sophomore Year – Laying the Foundation
Grades, Extra Curricula’s & Community Service Matter
For many universities, the GPA and scores from standardized college entrance tests like SAT and ACT, are the first considerations. And when it comes to the GPA, it’s not enough to pick up the pace in Junior year. Cumulatively, your grades influence the scholarships and financial aid packages offered.
College admissions officers also look at extra-curricular activities and community service. Establishing a track record is important – depth is preferable to breadth – and that means starting early.
Community service isn’t just what you do outside the home or for organizations. If you have family responsibilities, work part-time, contribute to the overall household income, watch your siblings while your parents work, look after an ailing grand-parent, let schools know. It all makes a difference.
The Practice SAT (PSAT) is mandatory and given in October of Junior year, nationally. Not every student chooses to compete though all take it. The top half of the top 1% of PSAT scorers qualify to compete for the National Merit List scholarship and that takes place in Spring of Junior year.
The scholarship is approximately $2500, and while it may not seem a large amount relative to how hard it is to win it, being a National Merit List (NML) winner does open doors. If the NML is on your radar, start prepping early– possibly even as a freshman. You may not have covered all the curriculum in Freshman and Sophomore year but practice tests get you accustomed to the format.
Disclaimer: All information on this blog should not be used as the sole source of information on a subject. It is valid at the time of its writing but may have changed since.