1. Talk to the teachers in the category you're interested in. 2. Take the ACT at least twice. Most people's scores go up the second time. You MUST have a cumulative ACT score of at least 17 in order to apply. 3. Maintain a high GPA, especially in the category you're interested in. 4. Look for service opportunities! This includes service to your school, your community, and beyond. Church activities are excellent, too. 5. Look for leadership opportunities, both inside school and outside school. You don't have to be class president; you can be in the presidency of the Spanish club, NHS, or Debate. Look for leadership opportunities in the community, such as student city council, Boys'/Girls' State, etc. 6. Join school clubs and organizations like DECA, Honor Society, and FCCLA, especially in the categories you're interested in. 7. Attend workshops and leadership academies. 8. Enter competitions like History Fair, Science Fair, Reflections, etc. 9. Start collecting the paperwork early. Sophomore year isn't too early! Certificates, photos, programs etc. are hard to re-create. Freshman through senior years (9th-12th grade) are considered in judging.