Sophomore year is a year of growth. With their first year of high school under their belt, students no longer feel like the “new kids on the block.” They should have a pretty good handle on managing the workload of high school, and have already learned from their studying mistakes in the last year.
Equally importantly, by now they have had a year to get involved in activities, whether it be athletics, service, the arts or political organizations. While sophomore year is not typically the time when students are appointed Editor-in-Chief of the yearbook or captain of the debate team, it is a great year to begin to dig in and get some experience contributing to the group on a deeper level. This might take the form of volunteering your time to do the undesirable but necessary tasks it takes to run a meeting, like showing up early to set up the chairs and staying afterwards to put the chairs away. Or buying supplies for an upcoming event on a weekend morning, instead of sleeping in as most of your friends are doing.
Leadership can also take the form of being the person in a class that others depend on to contribute meaningfully to a discussion, or building a strong relationship with the student leaders or the faculty advisor. (With advisors, not only can you learn from them, but they might also be good people to ask to write letters of recommendation for your college applications in senior year!)
Leadership roles are an important part of the college application review process because they represent an increased level of responsibility and demonstrate that a student is the kind of person that peers, teachers, and/or coaches believe can have a positive impact on the organization, the school, and often the greater community. This powerful message is important for college admissions representatives as they try to determine the kind of contribution you might be able to make to their community. See what you can learn and try to put your own positive spin on it when your turn arrives. Demonstrating this leadership in high school is one way to help yourself stand out from the crowd, and to have the self-confidence to attempt new experiences in the future.