Freshman and Sophomore Checklists

Whether you’re just starting to plan for college, or you’ve already bought your first college t-shirt to show your school spirit, it is never too late to use a checklist.

The checklists found below can be helpful as you plan for college. You may be surprised how many of the items on the list you have already done as part of your college planning, and don’t get worried if you didn’t check off everything on the list. The Fund My Future "How To Pay For College" booklet contains checklists with the items below and more.

The Guidance Counselor: Your Best Ally

Talk to your guidance counselor and make sure to keep up with everything from your grades to your class rank. Your guidance counselor can help make sure you are on the right track to graduate on time and with the courses you need to meet your postsecondary goals.

Freshman Year Checklist

  • Many scholarships in Arkansas require students to take Smart Core.  Talk to your school counselor to make sure your high school course schedule is on the right track for preparing for college. The courses a student takes in the 9th grade set the stage for the remainder of their high school career.
  • Many colleges and universities require four years of high school math, and Smart Core also requires 4 math credits.
  • You and your family should continue to put extra dollars into a college fund. Visit our Saving for College page for more information.
  • Start to learn about college financial aid, federal and state resources that are available, and how you can use those resources to help pay for college.
  • If possible, take part in programs or courses that are offered on college campuses near your home. Seeing different campuses and experiencing campus life at an early age can help you see yourself as a future college student.
  • Be involved in extracurricular activities. Participation in clubs, athletic teams, music groups, journalism, etc. will be an important factor in many college admission decisions.
  • Keep track all of your extracurricular activities, volunteerism, awards, or leadership in a notebook or folder. You will be asked to list these on college applications as well as write essays reflecting on the experiences.

Sophomore Year Checklist

  • During your sophomore year, take the PSAT (pre-SAT) and/or PLAN (pre-ACT). This provides a good opportunity to practice for these important college entrance tests. The SAT and ACT web sites both offer free practice tests as do web sites that focus specifically on college entrance exam test preparation, including and
  • Consider your career interests and goals once again. Talk with your school counselor and others about these interests and find out the kind of education you will need to meet your career goals.
  • Check once again to be sure your course schedule is matching up with your intended diploma and the career path you want to pursue.
  • Begin to consider what you may want in a college. Search web sites and other resources for more information on colleges that peak your interest.
  • Start visiting colleges. Schedule a tour or attend a general information session at area colleges.
  • Be sure to continue documenting your in-school achievements and activities (athletics, music, etc.)
  • Continue to save for college. Every family must contribute toward the cost of attending college.
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