Sophomore year of high school is very much a transition year for students. You are probably feeling more comfortable in school, but you are still a year away from having to worry about testing and the college admissions process. With this said, it is not too early to begin to think about paying for your college education. Luckily, there are some great scholarships for the class of 2025 to apply for!
How to win scholarships for high school sophomores
After you decide which scholarships from our list are a good fit, it’s time to start working on your applications. Applying to scholarships as a high school senior can be a bit different than applying later in your academic career. This is because you will have less experience under your belt than some of your competition.
As a result, it’s important to focus on how you frame your experience through your essays. Luckily, we can help. Check out our articles on how to start a scholarship essay, and how to write about yourself. You can also try out our “Show, Don’t Tell” essay primer to learn to write compellingly.
Finally, remember to build a solid foundation you can use to win scholarships in the future. Keep on top of your schoolwork, enroll in extracurriculars, and look for jobs, internships, summer programs, and volunteer opportunities to build a wide variety of experience. This will help you in future applications to scholarships, jobs, college, and more!
Tips for high school sophomores
Stay on top of your academics
As a high school sophomore, your #1 priority should be maintaining a high GPA. Getting good grades and succeeding in your classes will be the best thing you can do to help your admissions chances down the line.
Make sure to stay up-to-date with your classes all school year, and if you find yourself slipping behind, ask your teacher, a tutor, or other students for extra help. Remember – you shouldn’t be embarrassed if you are having trouble in school. It’s natural to do better in some subjects than in others. The best thing you can do is be proactive and find a way to catch up with the course material.
Get involved in extracurriculars
Colleges are looking more and more at students as a well-rounded picture, rather than a set of grades and test scores. It’s important, for your admissions process, and your own personal development, to get involved in extracurriculars. You can try out some sports, clubs, volunteer work and community service, leadership organizations, or anything that interests you.
Talk to your parents about your financial situation
It’s never too early to sit down with your parents and get an idea of what your finances will be when it comes time to apply to college. Try filling out the FAFSA to get an idea of what type of need-based financial aid you’ll qualify for. This will give you your EFC, which is an indicator of your financial need and one of the ways that colleges will calculate how much aid to give you.
Start thinking about standardized tests
It’s never too early to start studying for your SAT and/or ACT. While you don’t need to throw yourself entirely into the process yet, it’s a good idea to take a practice test or two in order to start getting used to the rhythm of these tests and find out what material you’ll need to brush up on the most. If you know upperclassmen who are already studying for it, try asking if they have a tutor they like, so you know who to turn to when you enter your junior and senior years.
Frequently asked questions
Is sophomore year of high school too young to apply for scholarships?
How can I stand out as a sophomore applying for scholarships?
As a sophomore applying for scholarships, you’ll most likely be competing with students who have more experience than you. As a result, it’s important to highlight your ambitions for the future. Talk about what you’ve done so far in life and how it informs the things you want to do in the future.
One accomplishment you can get under your belt is membership in the National Merit Scholarship program. The National Merit Scholarship Program is a scholarship that is open for high school juniors and is based on your PSAT score. Take your PSAT as a sophomore to prepare and put yourself in the best position for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
It’s also a good idea to prioritize extracurriculars early on so that you have something compelling to write your essays about. Find something you’re passionate about and make steady progress on it while maintaining your schoolwork in order to maximize your chances!
Explore these other scholarship categories:
- Top scholarships for women
- Top scholarships for high school juniors
- No essay scholarships
- Top easy scholarships to apply for
- Top scholarships for Black students
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