Letter to Sophomores

Dear Sophomore,

The purpose of this letter is to inform you of things you will need to know during your high school years and that will help you with your future educational planning. We’d like you to take a moment to think about your future plans. As a sophomore, you may think that high school graduation is pretty far off, but it’s closer than you realize. What you do now will affect what you do after graduation.

Do you want to go to a four-year university, a community college, or a technical school, or do you want to do something else entirely? Maybe you don’t think college is right for you. Well, there are a number of scholarships for technical schools. You may also think that all scholarships are for seniors. Seniors are eligible for the majority of scholarships, but there are many for sophomores as well.

As a student of Sequoia Secondary, you have access to some excellent online resources. We encourage you to go to sequoiasecondary.org. If you click on the Student Services menu, you will be taken to the “Counselor’s Corner.” You will find a wealth of information regarding college, scholarships, standardized tests, and more. Ms. Newsom will update the Current Scholarships listing regularly during the school year, so take a look occasionally, visit some of the websites, and apply for scholarships that interest you. Look for scholarships on your own as well.

Recently, Sequoia Secondary implemented the ECAP program. An ECAP (Education and Career Action Plan) reflects a student’s current plan of coursework, career aspirations, and extended learning opportunities in order to develop the student’s individual academic and career goals. You should have taken your first ECAP class last year. You will be taking an ECAP class each of your four years in high school, and it is our hope that this program helps you to achieve your goals and dreams.

Since you are a sophomore, you have the time to cultivate the talents and extracurricular activities that scholarship committees and college admissions officials look for. Get a job, volunteer your time, learn a musical instrument, polish your essay-writing skills, apply for an internship, play a sport, acquire an interesting or unique hobby, audition for a play, or get involved with a church or scouting group. Whether you do one or several of these things, it’s important that you do something. Grades are important, but scholarships and college admissions are not always based on grades alone.

We also urge you to register for the PSAT, which is given in mid-October and costs about $15. In order to take the PSAT, you must contact the counseling office of a local high school and ask to take the test there. When you take the test, be sure to put our school code on the test: 030608. Not only is the PSAT good practice for the SAT, it is also the qualifying exam for the National Merit Scholarship when you take it as a junior. You could receive more than $12,000 in yearly scholarship money from ASU or UA through National Merit. Even though you will not enter the scholarship competition this year, it’s a good idea to take the test as practice.

Lastly, keep in mind that the Arizona Board of Regents offers a scholarship for students who pass all three AIMS tests with Exceeds scores by the end of their junior year. Beyond the AIMS requirement for the scholarship, you also need to receive A’s and B’s in all your core classes and score well on the SAT or ACT. Keep your grades up throughout your high school career and you could receive a scholarship that pays for 25% of your tuition at an in-state university.

We hope that you will have a great school year, and we look forward to working with you. Please do not hesitate to call or e-mail us with questions. We are here to help.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Bynum
Director of Student Services