College-Bound Second Semester to Do List


As we start the new year, it is important to check in with our long-term goals.  A question that students and parent often ask is about what they should be doing to get ready for college.  I hope that the checklist below can help you set priorities and stay on track!

Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors:  

  • Keep your grades up!  No matter how you did first semester, you have a new start at the new year.  Do your best to get the most out of your classes.  Make study groups, attend library tutoring, and get to know your teachers.  What you are learning right now provides the foundation of your education at Chaffey and beyond, so push yourself to do your best.
  • Explore clubs, athletics, and other extracurricular activities.  Part of what we do in high school is discover what we love doing and what we care about in our community.  Chaffey has so many ways to get involved!  Be sure to listen to announcements and ask your teachers about awesome things to do on campus.  Twitter can also be a great resource; follow Ms. Martinez, ASB, Chaffey Counseling, Mr. Helper, Link Crew, me, and others to get connected.
  • Buid your skills: Read, read, read!  Reading widely and deeply will prepare you for any college experience.  Reading excellent fiction and non-fiction improves your vocabulary, grammar, and composition skills, but, perhaps more importantly, reading builds empathy and understanding.  You are in high school now, so it is time to move out of Young Adult fiction and into the world of literature.  Read this page for some useful reading lists, and get started!
  • Plan for next year.  Start thinking about AP classes and interesting electives for your sophomore or junior year.  Talk to your teachers, counselors, and friends for advice.  Also, if you took the PSAT, be sure to look at the College Board score report for your AP potential.  Ask your counselor if you need help!


  • Visit colleges:  In addition to the tasks above, second semester sophomore year is the perfect time to start visiting colleges.  See the post here for ways to find colleges and check out the five worth the drive on this page.  To visit a college, go to the school website, locate the admissions pages, and look for information about high school visits.  Every site looks a little different, so think like a detective and dig around.  You can call the admissions office and schedule a tour.  Get a parent to take you and your friends to as many colleges as possible over the next three semesters so you have plan for applications your senior year.
  • Prepare for the SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and ACT exams:  You took the PSAT first semester this year.  Second semester, you should use your PSAT scores to help you get a study plan for the SAT, SAT Subject Tests (SAT II), and the ACT.  Use awesome resources like and the College Board to start studying.  Be sure to sign up for SAT II in chemistry and World History at the end of this semester!  Check out these blog posts for more information:


  • You should have three main goals this semester:  SAT/ACT preparation, excellent grades, and visiting colleges.  See details above for help with these goals!
  • SAT and SAT II:  Be sure to take the SAT toward the end of the semester and take any SAT II tests that colleges may require.  To find out what tests you need, look at the admissions requirements for the colleges you plan to apply to next year.  Be sure to read carefully!  Here is a list of colleges that require SAT II exams. Remember, some majors at UC’s and CSU’s require the SAT II’s, so if you miss them you may miss out!  


You are the final stretch!  See the monthly checklist below and stay on track.

College Application Checklist P 1

College Application Checklist p 2