group of students sitting outside of the Power Center

Sophomore Year. It's Go Time.

The college search can feel like a lot, especially when senior year rolls around. Getting started as a sophomore gives you more time to find your best match. Take these five steps now to get ahead of the game.

Do some major research.

What programs will lead to your dream job?

Think about classes you enjoy the most now. Explore majors and minors offered at different schools, just to see what's out there. Talk to adults about their careers. Check in with your guidance counselor--they can help you set up job shadowing opportunities that fit your interests--and ask lots of questions.

You've got plenty of time but it's also okay to start college with an undeclared major. You'll be assigned an advisor during freshman year who will work with you to find a major when you're ready.

Fit matters.

College should fit you academically, socially and financially.

Think about what that means to you. Are you interested in a school with lots of majors because you want more flexibility, or would you rather focus on a specific program? Check out school viewbooks to learn more.

Listed tuition rates don't include scholarships or other aid. For instance, 99% of Duquesne freshman get some sort of financial aid and scholarship opportunities that can bring down the price. And look for colleges that offer clubs and extracurriculars similar to those you're part of now.

Plan a road trip! (The college kind.)

You'll begin visiting colleges next year, so start planning now.

Follow any schools you're interested in on social media, and check out their virtual tours. Then, make a list of the schools you'd like to visit.

Visits will help you get a feel for the campus, community and town. Take advantage of any special visit opportunities, like speaking with a professor or sitting in on a class.

Get ahead with AP.

Start earning college credits now.

High school Advanced Placement (AP) courses can lead to lots of benefits.

Taking AP courses shows college admissions officers that you're serious about academics. And earning college credits in high school may set you up to graduate college early or even save money on tuition.

PSATs? You got this.

They're more than just a practice run.

The PSATs are a great way to familiarize yourself with test-taking strategies you'll need for SATs or ACTs. But that's not the only reason to sign up. National Merit Scholarships are awarded based on applicants' PSAT scores.

Ask your guidance counselor for more info about when your school offers PSATs and how you can register.