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Freshman/Sophomore Focus

Students stand together at Sophomore orientation

Sometimes we hear from families inquiring what freshmen and sophomores should be doing to start the college search process. As freshmen, we want students to focus on becoming acclimated to Stevenson, learning about resources and co-curriculars, and refining their study skills. Following freshman year, sophomores should continue to work hard in classes and explore their interests. We encourage them to reflect on ways they prefer to learn along with topics that interest them. There are numerous ways for students to explore subjects they are gravitating towards through co-curriculars, organizations, discussions with family, friends and staff along with summer enrichment activities. We encourage families to read the Daily Digest and investigate the Summer Enrichment section in Naviance to engage students beyond the classroom.


With the strong college-going culture at SHS, we know it often feels like there is a checklist that students need to do. This is not the case. Both colleges and SHS want students to spend freshman year getting comfortable with being in high school. There is not a set checklist to complete, or a “right” list of clubs, athletics, and/or leadership opportunities that will get you into a school. Families should also not feel like they need to start “test prepping” or visiting campuses. Simply learn more about Stevenson, learn more about what interests you (and what doesn’t), and learn more about you.

During advisory, at the beginning of second semester, we will bring the freshmen into the College/Career Center to introduce them to our space, to us, and what we can offer them over the upcoming years. We will also offer an evening program for freshmen families in April called Freshmen Focus. Families can find this date on our CCC calendar. This presentation highlights the upcoming three years, the timeline, and what we encourage students to consider as they move into their sophomore year.


Sophomore year is a time for deeper exploration inside and outside the classroom. We hope our sophomores reflect on how they like to learn and what they like to learn more about.  

Though we encourage students to consider looking at schools, we believe this year is meant for exploring your interests. At this point, your school counselor is able to answer a lot of your general college questions. Students can also feel free to reach out to the postsecondary counselors with more specific questions. As a team with your counselor, we are all here to support you during your high school experience. Students can also utilize Mrs. Willock for career shadowing and exploration. In addition, students are recommended to utilize Naviance for career assessments.

We also organize an annual sophomore family presentation during March. Please reference the CCC calendar for date information on this program. This presentation has historically offered a larger introduction to Naviance, focusing on the highlights of connecting students to online postsecondary college and career resources. The second part of this presentation includes how to build a team when searching for colleges along with the primary tenets of finding the “best fit” in a college. In addition, we describe ways to do research on colleges along with the college admission timeline throughout the junior year. Sophomore families can always reference this presentation, along with a myriad of other important postsecondary documents below.

These are some potential questions you might consider for some additional reflection:

  • What co-curricular activities are you involved with currently?
  • Do you like what you are involved in after school or in the community?
  • Have you attempted a leadership position or opportunity to demonstrate leadership within your activities?
  • How do you hope to grow this year from your experiences outside the classroom?
  • Consider your co-curricular goals as an upperclassmen. What do you hope to achieve and gain from your experiences outside the classroom?