As a high school junior, what are the most important things for me to do before senior year?
There is no time like the present. If you can get those teacher recommendations requested before the summer, great. Try to crank out those essays over the summer and you will be way ahead of the game. Visit colleges during your winter and spring breaks, while students are on campus and you don’t have to miss school. Have mom and dad start filling in the FAFSA so they just have to update after the first of the year. Take the SAT/ACT. Open the Common Application and fill in all the blanks. Finally, mark you calendar with every fall deadline and all you’ll have to do your senior year is hit “send” when the time comes. Now doesn’t that feel good?
Doing absolutely the best work you can manage in your courses at school. Taking the PSAT or PLAN in the fall of junior year and then the SAT or ACT in the Spring. Beginning to explore colleges and then creating your college list. Working on your essays before the start of school your senior year. Visiting colleges in the spring and summer. Developing depth in your interests outside of school. And again, working hard and getting great grades in your classes!
1. Take the ACT or SAT at least once
2. Visit at least a few different types of colleges
3. This about which teachers you will ask to write recommendations for you and perhaps ask them if they write them over the summer.
4. Complete several drafts of your college essay.
5. During the summer, start working on the individual college supplements..
Many colleges look for students who have been involved in an enrichment program during the summer between their junior and senior years. Many colleges and universities operate such programs that target specific students or specific program areas. This is just one of many things that colleges look for when selecting students for admission.
Please get out and visit campuses. Campus visits are critical in identifying the proper fit for you and you alone. PS-It’s the fun part of the college search. Applications may be nerve wracking and the student/parent relationship may become strained (OK often becomes strained) but campus visits can be a real hidden opportunity for parents and applicants to bond. So the Avery Advantage motto is “Hit the Road!”
It is recommended that students begin taking the PSAT their sophomore year. As a junior students should take the PSAT again during the Fall and use the results to assist with studying for the SAT. During your junior year students taking the PSAT are able to compete for the Nationa Merit Scholarship. The results from your PSAT will provide you with an access code to Collegeboard.org where you can get personalized help with studying for the SAT. In the Spring juniors should take the SAT for at least the first time and can retake the SAT as needed throughout their junior year and their senior year. As a junior continue taking the most rigorous courses such as honors, AP, and IB if your school offers these classes. Earn good grades and maintain a high GPA. Most colleges will evaluate your core GPA through your junior year, therefore make sure you have the necessary GPA not only to get admitted, but to also get accepted to your college program. As a junior continuing with your community service is important in developing leadership skills and networking within your community. And stay involved in clubs and sports, and take on leadership roles within your activities. Colleges and scholarship applications may ask you about your involvement inside and outside of school. Ask your teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, and community leaders for letters of recommendations.
While continuing to achieve the best grades possible, prepping for standardized tests, and taking on leadership roles in your extra-curriculars, you need to give yourself time to figure out what type of environment would “fit” you best. During your junior year, you should be already visiting college campuses. And asking yourself key questions : Would this school make sense for me? Would I be happy here? Is it the ‘right” distance from home ? Does it have the size I want? What about the academic strengths/programs? Understanding your own needs/desire can be key to making the best choices. Do you love to ski, so being in a rural location, near a mountain, might be crucial to your happiness or do you thrive more on the energy of an urban location.
students shall consider to spend time to visit colleges and work on essay during the summer.
there are standard tests are offered and should be scheduled for the senior year.
if you are going to work with your counselor, either private or public ( no conflict), you should put together a game plan and meet your counselor regularlly to discuss the details and implementations.
having a effectly admissions strategy is the key for junior student. it takes many facts for counselors to prepare for college selection process. you need time to prepare and act if situation changed for better or worse.
Do you want to enjoy your senior year of high school? If so, start the college application process during the fall of your junior year. Start looking at colleges that suit you, or fit your personality, and start putting together a list of 8-10 colleges you would like to consider. Begin visiting during spring semester. Take the spring SAT and ACT. Put together your resume during the summer, and write essays during the summer. How do you know what the topic for the essay is? The common applicaton has a box for “topic of your choice”. Generally, put together an essay about the most influential person (dead or alive) in your life, and an essay about an issue that is important to you (personal, political, whatever). Find out which applications you will need to fill out and when they will be online. When they are online, start filling them out. These important tasks are best done during the Junior year.
Juniors have so much to accomplish during this year! In addition to your school academics and activities, the college search begins in earnest. Overall, it’s time for juniors to research colleges, attend college fairs, meet with college reps who come to school or host community meetings, visit colleges during spring break and summer, AND complete a battery of tests. Beginning with the PSAT in October and finishing the school year with AP exams or that last June test date for the ACT and SAT, Juniors have a packed schedule. So, get out that planner now and USE IT! If you participate in school athletics, drill team, theater, or any activity that often meets on weekends, then you need to check your calendar this fall for overlaps in the spring. Remember, the March SAT often overlaps with some schools’ spring break, so will you be home to take it? Parents, this is where you take an active role in helping your junior PLAN the test schedule for the school year. Pay attention to any information your high school counselors send you or post on the school website. Here are just a few highlights to get you started with this process. Juniors, PLEASE take BOTH the ACT (plus Writing) & SAT BEFORE THE END OF JUNIOR YEAR! Do not designate any colleges at this time. Just see how you do and then re-take either one or both of the tests. ACT & SAT test differently. You won’t know your preference or strength until you take them both. If you are eligible for a FEE WAIVER (both ACT & SAT offer these), see your counselor asap to obtain the forms. Every junior can have access to these college admissions tests. Things to consider:
1. Are you going to take a prep course? If so, are you taking it before your first round of tests or between the first & second round? That’s up to you and your parents but plan for it.
2. What is the budget for a test prep course? Take the time to compare price tags, one-on-one or classes, schedules, and ‘guarantees’ from test prep companies. If a class isn’t in the budget, does your high school offer a free class as an elective? Or, visit this fabulous FREE site: www.Number2.com for both ACT & SAT practice. Also, both ACT & SAT offer free practice on their sites. Suggested timing for ACT & SAT:
1. If you are in Pre-Calculus as a junior, then you could take your first ACT & SAT as early as December. If you are taking a test-prep course, then schedule your first tests NO LATER than January for the SAT & February for the ACT. This will give you time to receive your results, decide which test(s) you will retake, and schedule the second round for March, April, May, or June.
2. If you are in Algebra II as a junior, then you should probably wait until January/February at the earliest and possibly March/April for your first round of testing to be sure you have the math skills you need. That still gives you time to take the second test in May/June. Use the free site for practice or take a class.
3. Organizing your testing in the spring of junior year gives you test data to use in your summer college search – where do your test scores fall in the universities’ ranges? Do the colleges you are considering Super Score? It also gives you time to re-test in the fall, if necessary, without being rushed – especially if you decide to apply Early Action to a college. However, if you like your scores from the spring, then you will have one less thing to deal with when you go back to school as a senior.
4. SAT Subject Tests! Do you know what these are? Go to the College Board site for more details but know that the Ivy League and other very selective universities (Duke, Rice, etc.) require them as part of the admission process. They are not offered in March, so most juniors take them in May or June – but you have to organize them around your regular SAT. You may take up to 3 SAT Subject Tests on one Saturday. If you are taking US History AP as a junior and considering some selective universities, you should include the US History Subject Test. If you can survive a three-hour AP exam, you should certainly do well on a one-hour multiple choice test!
5. If you have been working seriously on your college search as a junior, checking out college websites for admissions criteria, and talking to college reps and your counselor, then you will know if you need to take the SAT Subject Tests. AP Exams:
1. AP exams are scheduled the first two weeks of May – and then there’s that most popular May SAT in the middle of these tests. If you are loaded with AP exams, you may want to consider taking your spring SAT in March or June.
2. Check with your high school test coordinator or counselor about signing up and paying for AP exams. State Tests:
Several states require exit tests for students and these are often scheduled during junior year. Be sure to factor in any state required testing when you are working on your junior calendar. Active planning on the part of students and parents will prevent a lot of frustration when senior year arrives. Even if it isn’t in the budget to visit a lot of colleges, use the college websites for virtual tours, pictures, & department details and please attend college fairs and community meetings hosted by the college reps. You can find out so much information via the internet these days and that will help you narrow the list so hopefully, you can visit the college that you are most passionate about. You can do this!
Enjoy the journey! Consider the possibilities!
Study, study, study! Study for your coursework to ensure that you are learning and getting the most out of your classes. Your GPA is important no matter where you decide to apply and no matter if you are an athlete, artist, or student body president! Study for your SATs, ACTs — as well as your SAT subject exams. Prepare as much as possible so that you can minimize the number of times you need to re-take the exams. While colleges don’t seem to mind if you take exams multiple times — YOU should! You don’t want to be cramming for the SATs in your senior year — do you??? Study a college guide or two so that you can obtain a general lay of the college landscape. One guide that I find very helpful for students is the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Of course, Unigo is also a great resource to find out what students have to say about colleges.
Study, study, study! Study for your coursework to ensure that you are learning and getting the most out of your classes. Your GPA is important no matter where you decide to apply and no matter if you are an athlete, artist, or student body president! Study for your SATs, ACTs — as well as your SAT subject exams. Prepare as much as possible so that you can minimize the number of times you need to re-take the exams. While colleges don’t seem to mind if you take exams multiple times — YOU should! You don’t want to be cramming for the SATs in your senior year — do you??? (Make sure you keep on top of all the exam dates! AP exams are in May so you might want to take the March or June SAT. For more information on the SAT, SAT subject tests and the AP exams — please go to collegeboard.com) Study a college guide or two so that you can obtain a general lay of the college landscape. One guide that I find very helpful for students is the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Of course, Unigo is also a great resource to find out what students have to say about colleges. You probably have a busy summer planned — but I hope that you at least try to take a look at the Common Application — which goes live every August 1. You can register and set up your account, and perhaps even get started on brainstorming or drafting your essays! The fall of your senior year will go by faster than you think!
Now that all is (almost) said and done for the high school seniors who will be attending college in Fall 2014, the focus will turn to high school juniors and the impact that many societal factors will have on their college admissions process. My advice remains the same: avoid focusing on standardized tests during the upcoming weeks. It is so easy to fall victim to the hype surrounding the controversial exams, but in the process students lose the opportunity to attend college fairs and information sessions right here in Los Angeles. A few words of advice: 1) Remember, not only does the college choose you, you also choose the college – do your research and meet representatives any chance you get! 2) The more times you express interest in a college, the better the chances you will be admitted (all things being equal). Every time you attend a college fair or information session, make sure you complete the form to let them know you attended. Colleges put this information in your file and track your interest. 3) As a follow-up to #2 – go online and request information from colleges – express interest early and often. 4) Do your research: know when colleges will be in town and don’t miss them! It’s so easy to do when all you can think about are those standardized tests…almost seems contradictory, doesn’t it?
Do well in tough courses, first and foremost. That said, get started on figuring out why you want to go to college, which leads to which colleges might be good for you. Take the SAT and the ACT, and think about taking some Subject Tests. Make sure to practice at least a little before taking the tests – you wouldn’t play Varsity anything without practice: same idea.
Start in the fall of your junior year by making informal visits to colleges less than 100 miles from your home. Note your impressions of the buildings, students, campus settings, class sizes, and more. Revisit those where you feel most comfortable. Take your small list and expand it by adding colleges similar in cost, locale, educational focus, and the like. Schedule formal tours and interviews at those campuses, then divide your list into the traditional Reach, Match, and Safety School categories. Come senior year, you’ll be ready to apply to at least six colleges that are right for you.
To prevent standardized exam burnout during your senior year, implement a plan that allows you to strategically space out the dates when you are registered to take SAT, ACT, SAT II, AP, and/or IB exams. With all that you will have going on during your senior year, the last thing you want creeping up on you are standardized exams! Therefore, take the SAT and/or ACT at least once during the spring of your junior year. Also, register to take any relevant SAT II exams corresponding with your junior courses in late spring/early summer to leverage your retention of critical content.
Junior year is essential to college admissions. Let colleges know you can maintain good grades. If you haven’t worked your hardest, challenge yourself to improve your performance this semester and next. Be well-prepared for SATs/ACTs, studying and practicing on your own or with a tutor. Give extracurricular activities an extra boost. Colleges are looking for students who show initiative, leadership, passion, and significant service. Volunteer in your school or community and explore summer academic and internship opportunities. If you’ve been active, look for ways to enhance those activities – e.g. become an officer, run a community drive, increase your service hours.
Use your spring break or a long weekend in your junior year to strategically check out two or three campuses that represent the greatest extremes among the colleges you are considering. Visit one of the largest and one of the smallest, or a research university and liberal arts college, or a rural-located and urban-located campus. Prepare questions that address the realities of size, location, or type of institution. What do these factors mean for your academic interests or your comfort level? What did you like? Use knowledge gained from these strategic junior year visits to plan successful senior year visits.
There is plenty on your to-do list as a college-bound junior but don’t lose sight of how important your 11th grade academic work will be when your application is reviewed. Stay focused on success in the classroom—that’s really important! Then, as you make your list of colleges, consider carefully whether they reflect the academic environment in which you will be challenged and offer the opportunities you are keen to pursue. The best college for you may not be the name most familiar to you or the college that’s best for your friend. Take time to carefully consider what’s important to you and let that drive your college search.
In 2010, the Dallas Cowboys had numerous games in which they outgained their opponents in passing and rushing yards, but fell short on the scoreboard and lost. Aaron Rogers earned MVP in the Super Bowl because he was prepared, focused, and disciplined. Similarly, juniors must pay attention to details; create a what-by-when timeline; prepare a resume; and put together a chart of target college requirements. Grades and test scores remain paramount. Additionally, impassioned teamwork, servant leadership, and global vision are essential in today’s society. Follow through with your plan – It’s not only how you start; it’s how you finish.
Juniors, you’ve quite the race to run between now and next fall – especially if you’d like to begin senior year in strategic decision making mode. Use time wisely: thoroughly research colleges, demonstrate interest with a visit, email, or college fair – interest is important. Refine your list of options: be realistic yet have a dream college or two. Use the summer to write your essay and any requested supplements. No supplement is optional – write it. The Common App goes live August 1st. Complete it. Start your senior year with everything in order for submission.
Before searching for the colleges that fit you the best, take some time to examine your priorities. What is important to you in a college? Do you want large or small, near or far, sports or fraternities, lecture-style or seminar classes? Have you thought of a possible major? What type of school fits you best academically or socially? As you start to prioritize, you will realize what is important to you for researching and visiting schools. Armed with this self awareness, you’ll be all set to go find those perfect colleges!
If you will require teacher recommendations for admission or scholarship applications, ask (2-3) teachers from junior year classes if they would be willing to write one for you. Make this request in April or May (before school ends) which gives them time over the summer to work on it, while their memories of specific positive actions of yours are fresher. By fall they will have a whole new set of students to deal with as well as being inundated by requests from other seniors. Look for teachers who are proud of you and who seem to understand what makes you tick!
You can help yourself most by having a successful junior year. Stay happy, keep your grades up, and follow your passions. Do not become so obsessed about the college selection and application process that you forget to live your life as a high school student. While there are some tasks you need to complete – admission tests and requesting recommendations – if you focus on having a great junior year, in addition to being a happier person, you will improve your chances of admission.
The college search process can be complicated and overwhelming. If you approach it in an unorganized and haphazard way, then you are likely to encounter problems. It is essential to find a way to organize your thoughts and the information you obtain (whether it be via mail or the internet). You also have to develop a system to keep track of deadlines and expectations (this could be a spreadsheet or a paper form.) Whatever method you choose makes no difference as long as you are doing something to stay on top of this process and it works for you.
It’s easy to get excited about summer break and zone out during the last weeks of school, but these are the days that count! So wake up and start planning! Your first step is to research colleges and programs that fit your needs and interests. That’s where a counselor comes into play. Set up a meeting with one and get some guidance picking colleges and majors that seem interesting to you. Once you’ve narrowed down your options you can start applying. Sure the application process can get overwhelming, but if you’ve picked some top schools and majors you’ve already tackled some of the hardest work!
First, prepare for standardized tests (SAT, ACT, and SAT II if required by target colleges). Ideally you would have all standardized tests completed by the end of junior year, so you can devote the summer to drafting your essays and completing applications. Second, continue to compile a transcript with rigorous courses and participate in meaningful activities. Third, visit target colleges to create “demonstrated interest” and learn about schools. Finally, approach teachers who know you best to request letters of recommendation. If they seem excited, get contact information so you can send the recommendation forms when they become available in July.
Maintain momentum with academic and extracurricular commitments, choose senior courses with intention, and look for meaningful leadership opportunities. Continue developing the portrait of who you are. Think carefully about how your upcoming summer experience might reflect on your willingness to challenge yourself. Understand what your overall record says about you. Seek advice on how to highlight your strengths. Save graded writing samples. Visit colleges and notice what things are truly important. Think expansively about what type of environment would best support your preferences and goals. Formulate a strong list of questions to ask colleges to determine best fit for you.
Begin by looking at several applications and fill in gaps you see in your own life. Study hard. Pursue activities that develop your interests and skills. Decide which teachers will write strong recommendations, and make your requests early. Become familiar with application essay topics and practice writing about your life. Prepare for the SAT or ACT. Plan spring campus visits. Create a separate e-mail account for college communications. Note deadlines, either official or self-imposed, on your calendar and keep it handy. Designate a ‘college corner’ stocked with a file box, folders and other things that keep you organized.
First, decide what you want from college, academically and socially, then check graduation rates of schools that meet your criteria. You want to graduate in four years because an extra year costs time and money. Then visit your target colleges while classes are in session. Seeing a campus during the summer is like going to a rock concert while they are setting up the chairs. Ask current students what they do on weekends, how many hours they study, how many papers they write and how big classes are. Large classes mean little discussion; small classes mean no place to hide.
Panicky juniors may assume that more is better when it comes to college applications. They join a few more clubs, spend more hours at the homeless shelter, take kazoo lessons, and tutor first graders. But colleges seek students with both commitment and a willingness to pursue excellence. So step back to ask which activities really mean something to you, which are most enjoyable, and which provide the greatest opportunity to demonstrate not only talent, but dedication and leadership. It’s better to do one thing well and with depth of purpose than to flit from one activity to another without making much of a lasting contribution.
The official record should be an accurate reflection of the student’s abilities. The senior year is not the time to “coast”. Rather, the senior year is the time to further challenge oneself in the most demanding courses one can handle. The continuation of the foreign language and a fourth year of math and science is no longer always optional. In terms of summer prior to senior year, one should not look for activities that might be “impressive”. College officials are attuned to this, and are looking for consistency and breadth and depth of commitment to an activity.
One question I hear often is “how many AP classes do I need to be admitted to college?” While I know it’s frustrating, my answer is always the same: “There isn’t an exact number.” AP courses are great. They provide challenge and rigor and stretch students, offering strong preparation for the demands of college. The fact is, though, that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing when it comes to APs. Seek advice from teachers and advisors when planning your schedule and choose one that allows you to showcase yourability not overwhelm you.
Right now, every high school junior should print out a blank monthly calendar starting with March 2011 and ending with August 2012. What to do with these 18 sheets of paper? Arrange them in chronological order – of course – and tape them to a wall in a high traffic area where everybody in the family has access. Write down important dates (spring break, application deadlines, etc) to serve as a guide on what needs to be done and when. By making the search process visible and breaking it down into smaller components, it becomes more manageable for students and parents alike.
As the junior year progresses and the college admissions process begins, it is important to remember that a student’s first commitment should continue to be working hard in all their courses. Throughout the college process it is the student’s academic performance which is the most important element in being admitted to college. Also, talk with your guidance counselor, develop a testing schedule and discuss what things you (the student ) have done in and outside of school since starting grade 9. Remember, the guidance counselor is going to be writing your recommendation and knowing you well is the key to being able to highlight your accomplishments.
Don’t be a stealth applicant, meaning someone who researches online without making yourself known to colleges. Liberal arts colleges in particular need to know that applicants are interested in learning about them. If the first time they hear about you is with your application they may conclude that you weren’t very thoughtful about the process or them. You should go to the colleges’ web sites (admissions or visitor pages), find the prompt and sign in. That will put you on their radar. It will demonstrate preliminary interest in learning more and will ensure that you are not a stealth applicant.
Everything else is secondary, especially summer plans. You can take the summer off and read poetry if you want. Getting into college should not be a year-long campaign. If there is something good to do, do it because it will add to your personal growth, not to impress a college. You should observe yourself in your junior year classes and try to imagine what a recommendation from a teacher would sound like. Does the teacher see enough of my enthusiasm, hard work, and learning to write a good letter? If not, what can I do to demonstrate that? (This is NOT the same as showing off!)
Contrary to popular belief, senior year is definitely not the time to slack off and take it easy. That is because colleges tend to look for and choose students who they believe are likely to be academically successful at their school. The best things you can do to show them that are to maintain strong grades and sign up to take challenging courses next year. By choosing to take more rigorous classes, and succeeding in them, you demonstrate to colleges that you have both the motivation to take on new challenges and the preparation needed to do college level work.
Discuss with your parents their college ideas for you and finances. If you will need financial aid, remember that the best place for accurate aid information is a college financial aid office, so add that stop to your web browsing and college tour list. Plan your senior year course work with your school or independent counselor to enhance your junior year courses. For example, if you are in the second or third year of a foreign language, plan to take an additional year of the subject. Most important aspect for college acceptance is the quality of your transcript!
Take time to really reflect on the type of environment in which you are most productive. Do you see yourself in a large or small college or university setting? How important are extracurricular opportunities to me? What are the top requirements I am looking for in a college or university on which I will not compromise? Understanding your needs and expectations will make the process of selecting a college home easier and more successful.
By your junior year you should have a list of colleges that you are interested in attending. Contact an admissions counselor at each of these colleges to learn about the admissions process and requirements. This information will be useful in determining if you meet the admissions requirements and also in planning your campus visits during your senior year. Also get the contact information of the admissions counselor you speak to and ask if you can contact him/her in the future. Lastly, find out if a college accepts the Common Application. The Common Application can save you valuable time and energy.
One of the most important aspects of selecting your college is visiting campuses. If you’re not sure what type of school is a good fit for you, schedule visits at large and small public universities and smaller liberal arts colleges. Make college visits part of your travel plans for Spring Break or summer vacation. If possible, schedule time with an admissions counselor, and a professor or advisor in the major you want to study. If school is in session, ask to sit in on a class, stay overnight in a dorm or shadow a student for a day.
High school counselors across the country are meeting with juniors this spring and encouraging them to read guide books, visit college campuses and develop a list of “good fit” colleges. To look beyond the “bumper sticker” schools and find a college that really fits, take time to explore who you are and who you hope to become. Get out of your routine and engage in two substantive activities this summer. These experiences will bring more depth to your college search and applications. Get a job, read a Russian novel a week, learn how to repair a car, or take a class at a nearby college. What excites you?
With roughly 4000 institutions in the US, knowing what you want in a college (academically and socially) is the first step in finding it. Reflect on such things as possible major, how you learn best, extracurricular interests and the type of people you enjoy being around. Establish your criteria then consider each school you examine against those criteria. Beyond that, be sure to select appropriately challenging courses for your senior year, identify two teachers and request that they write your recommendations, continue to develop your skills in areas of non-academic interests, visit colleges if possible, and communicate with your parents throughout the process. And never forget, the search is about finding a place that will provide the educational and social experience that you desire, so begin by figuring out what that is.
Confronting the current selectivity in college admissions, you might be tempted to load up on courses and activities that “look good” to colleges and fill your days so completely that you barely have time to breathe. Too often students do what they think the colleges want them to do. While a life constructed that way can be impressive, it will lack the authenticity, joy, and distinctive energy that come when a student explores what really excites her/him. Students who pursue genuine interests have particular power in the college process; their applications ring true. Ask yourself what’s truly meaningful to you.
As a parent, a helpful role is that of chief organizer, as an extraordinary amount of information needs to be gathered. While much information is now electronic, sometimes it is helpful to have an old fashioned portfolio. A three-ring binder with pocket files or clear sleeves with sections for: Semester Grades, Activities, Awards, Special Certificates, Outstanding assignments, SAT/ACT dates and scores, Monthly Calendar with college visits and fairs, Essay drafts, and so on. Leave the binder in an obvious place, place the deadline dates on the family calendar as well, making sure your student has the dates. Hopefully, that is all the encouragement needed.
The college application process works best if the work is shared. (And I don’t mean having your mom write your essays!) Think about the roles you would like the adults in your life to play. Maybe your mom can be the driver for your college visits. Your aunt might learn the “ins and outs” of financial aid. Who among your current teachers knows you well enough to speak about you as both a person and a learner? And have you made friends with your college counselor yet? Junior year is the time to pull your team together.
Ask yourself two important questions: 1) why do you want to go to college and 2) what type of college will best prepare you? Be honest with yourself and you will apply to schools that are the right ones for you. Once you answer the questions, get applications and start to compile the necessary documents. Schedule campus visits and meet with admissions, financial aid officers and current students. Also, request recommendation letters. Lastly, spend your summer wisely. Internships, volunteering and attending academic summer programs are all good ways to stay sharp while impressing college and scholarship committees. Good luck!
There are a number of practical things that should be on a junior’s timeline, including testing early, securing recommendations, visiting colleges. But before doing anything else, define who you are in relation to choosing colleges: what are the characteristics, both academic and lifestyle, that combine to produce the colleges that are the best fit for you? Picture yourself at college. Where is it geographically, what is its size? Does it allow you to learn in the way that is best for you? Are the students those from whom you will learn and with whom you will form lifetime friendships?
Contrary to popular belief, junior year of high school is not the be all and end all in college admissions: Senior year matters, too. Continuing to study the five core academic subjects—English, math, science, social science, and foreign language—is critical. One noteworthy exception: It’s fine to drop foreign language if you have already taken it through level four. Your high school assesses the rigor of your academic program for colleges. Challenge yourself, especially in the subjects that engage you, but avoid dropping math to take two English courses. It’s important to “bake” the academic cake before icing it.
Did you know that some college admission offices actually keep track of the number of times you are in contact with the school? It is called “expressed interest” and it can be a factor in an admission decision. So, attend college fairs and local college programs and meet the representatives. If your high school has representatives visiting, always stop in to see the college representative and fill out an inquiry card. If you have questions, call the admissions office and of course, visit. Once you apply, keep the dialogue going to make sure that your application is complete.
Students are unique individuals each with their own set of talents, interests and accomplishments. Colleges are also unique, each with their own personalities, strengths and focus. A beautiful thing happens when a student finds his match in a school; a place where he feels most at home, and where he can become his own person. Finding the right college is not an exact science, but discovering yourself and what you are looking for in a school can most often take you to the right place. As you search, consider geography, size, setting, the type of students you enjoy being with, academic programs, etc.
By planning ahead, you can be ready to hit the ground running in senior year. Do what you can this year, beginning with SAT and ACT testing. Try to take each twice in second semester. Learn about the options: large v small; urban v. rural or suburban; liberal arts college v. university. Don’t “think” you know the differences–take time to see samples of each. Do this at schools near you–you’ll learn how to “do” a college visit and be ready for serious campus visits in the summer and fall.
Putting together a college budget with your parents during the senior year can help alleviate some of the stress of college preparation. Budgeting early could reveal the possibility of not being able to go to college due to lack of funds. It is important to start putting together a budget of projected college expenses in your junior year based on your top college choices. This will allow you to research affordable colleges and sources of revenue for your education (such as scholarships, financial aid, work-study, or other sources). Your parents should be able to sit down with you and outline how much (if any) they can contribute and offer helpful suggestions on how to make your budget.
Paradoxically, much depends on Junior year accomplishments, yet application time seems remote in 11th Grade. Sharpen focus by targeting your college goals early; then design and carry out an efficient game plan. Top students aim for highest grades in challenging classes, ace standardized tests through solid preparation and establish strong relationships with teachers/coaches. They invest personal time in meaningful extracurricular activities, assuming leadership roles when offered. Consider how you can excel in unique ways to differentiate yourself from other good students – through competitions, independent study, talents, community service. Above all, maintain your zeal for knowledge and joy in learning.
One of the most important aspects of selecting your college is visiting campuses. If you’re not sure what type of school is a good fit for you, schedule visits at large and small public universities and smaller liberal arts colleges. Make college visits part of your travel plans for Spring Break or summer vacation. If possible, schedule time with an admissions counselor, and a professor or advisor in the major you want to study. If school is in session, ask to sit in on a class, stay overnight in a dorm or shadow a student for a day.
THINGS TO CONSIDER DURING YOUR JUNIOR YEAR In my opinion, the most important thing for you to do during your junior year is work hard to make good grades in the most challenging courses your high school offers – insofar as those courses are appropriate for you. Another thing to do is to carefully look over the extracurricular offerings at your school and choose several activities that are of great interest to you and to which you would like to commit. You don’t have do everything. I have heard many college admissions officers say that they would rather see a student who has been strongly committed to a limited number of activities than someone who has been flitting from one activity to another with no real involvement. Choose activities that are meaningful to you, that will contribute to your life, and to which you are willing to commit your time and energy. Enjoy becoming active in the organizations/groups you choose. Decide whether you want to assume leadership roles or just be a good team player. Every organization needs a combination of both. Many college/university admissions officers do mention, however, that they are impressed by applicants who have shown leadership ability, so keep that in mind. If you’re a U.S. citizen and have the opportunity, take the PSAT in the fall of the 11th grade. Those results are used for determining National Merit Scholarship recipients. Even if your scores are not strong enough for scholarship recognition, analyzing your PSAT results will give you a good idea of where your academic strengths and weaknesses lie, so that you can more successfully prepare for the ACT and/or SAT tests which you will take later on. Some higher education institutions have decided not to require standardized testing (ACT/SAT) for admission, but most of the institutions to which you will be applying will probably require scores from one or either of those tests. You can take the tests more than once, so I would definitely recommend that a student plan to take either or both of the tests at least twice. The first test would be a way of “testing the waters”. The student will be able to get a feeling for the stress of the timed testing situation and to identify the areas on which he/she needs to concentrate before a second testing. The first test could be planned for sometime toward the end of 11th grade, with another testing scheduled for fall of the 12th grade. A third testing could be worthwhile, but after that, the process may become counterproductive. Many students will find it helpful to do some sort of test preparation before taking the first ACT/SAT. There are many possibilities for SAT or ACT preparation. Take advantage of one or more of them. Free online opportunities, books that you can order for self-study, and taught courses are just a few of the options. Based on the results of the first standardized test sitting, the student could then use the time between 11th and 12th grade to continue to review and improve in specific areas. A student who has his/her act together will be researching colleges/universities during the 11th grade. Use as many resources as possible to find out as much as you can about each institution – their academic and extracurricular offerings, their admission requirements, scholarship opportunities, and anything else that is important to you. This research will open up the possibility of visiting some or all of your potential application choices during the latter part of the 11th grade or the summer between 11th and 12th grades. The value of visiting a school and getting a personal feel for it is immeasurable. If at all possible, try to arrange such visits. Finally, in the 12th grade, you will be asking your Guidance Counselor and one or several of your teachers to write college recommendations for you. It is often suggested that you ask your 11th grade teachers because they will have had more time to get to know you and may have a better overall view of your capabilities. In any case, establish good relationships with your counselor and your teachers, so that when the time comes, they will really know you and will be able to write knowledgeable and effective recommendations for you. Well, I think that gives you a lot to think about and surely a lot of important things to consider during your junior year! If you set up a good Plan of Action, though, none of this has to overwhelming.
I’ll answer this one from a testing perspective since that’s my area of expertise! Ideally, a student should be finished with all college admissions testing by the end of junior year. The common wisdom has always been to take the SAT or ACT for the first time at the end of junior year, then re-take in the fall of senior year. But I prefer for students to take their chosen exam for the first time in the fall of junior year. This is efficient for a couple of reasons. First, you can use the summer to do the bulk of your test prep. For many students, the summer before junior year is less hectic that the one before senior year, so test prep shouldn’t be as hard to fit into your schedule. Second, if you’ve got your sights set on National Merit recognition, the PSAT you take in the fall of your junior year is one that “counts.” It makes a lot of sense to combine prepping for the SAT with your PSAT prep, so you can kill two birds with one stone. Yes, it’s a lot of testing to complete in October, but you’ll be so glad you got your first SAT attempt out of the way. You can then take it a second, and even third, time before the end of junior year. Then, you’re finished, and you can secretly gloat when all your friends are cramming for the fall test administrations your senior year!
Extra time over the summer can help you get caught up on your college search or get a head start on applications, but it is essential for you to do three things your junior year: 1. Take the SAT & ACT at least once. With application deadlines as early as October, students can no longer wait until senior year for admissions testing. 2. Make the grade. The first thing colleges will see on your transcript is your junior year record. Earn the best grades possible. 3. Get and stay involved. If your participation in the past was anemic, use your junior year to strengthen your involvement. Senior year will be too late.
1) Take the most rigorous high school courses available to you and do very well in them. 2) Continue to pursue your extracurricular activities.
3) Take the SAT Reasoning Test or the ACT in the spring and the SAT Subject Tests (if needed) in May or June.
4) Research an develop a preliminary list of colleges to apply to.
5) Begin brainstorming possible essay topics and taking notes.
6) Kindly ask two to three teachers if they will be willing to write recommendation letters for you over the summer, and prepare a resume and brag sheet to help guide them in their writing.
7) Plan for and take any college tours/campus visits.
8) Relax and enjoy the college planning process knowing that you are on schedule and taking care of business.
GRADES!! Your high school junior year grades will carry the most weight on your transcript. Even if your freshmen year was less than stellar, an increasing GPA will only make you look good. Take the hardest classes your high school offers in which you can earn As. These classes will prepare you to do well in college level work and demonstrate you are ready to be a great student in college. Narrow your extra-curricular activities. Now is the time to commit more time to those things about which you are passionate. Learn to be a leader. In high school, many leadership positions are based on social popularity, not necessarily leadership skills. This doesn’t mean you are excluded from leadership opportunities, it just means you have to make your own. Start a club, lead a fund raiser, start a business, organize a service project. Learn to balance your school work, your extra-curricular activities, and relaxation. You will need this skill in college. Balance will keep you from burning out and allow you to showcase your academic skills. Investigate colleges. Ask people you admire about their alma mater. Do research on the internet. Visit colleges during your spring break (not the college’s spring break). You want to see the campus full and busy. Try to determine optimal size, activities, affiliations, location (city/suburb/rural) and distance from home. Keep great notes so you can refer to them later.
Here are some of the things you can do before senior year to help prepare for the college admissions process: 1. Take (or retake) standardized tests such as ACT or SAT.
2. Continue to refine your list of potential schools.
3. This is a great time to take college tours, if possible. If you can’t visit in-person, you can take full advantage of the college website and also call the office of admissions if you have questions the site doesn’t answer.
4. Line up letters of recommendation from teachers and other sources.
5. Work on those college application essays! Have someone (a writing coach like myself for example) read them over for you. Keep in mind that your English teacher and parents don’t read essays the same way that admissions officers read essays. Your essays need to stand out from the crowd- the standard 3-point essay from English class will not do!
You need to START with 3 things in your junior year:
1. Sign up for academically challenging classes that fall in line with the type of courses that you have been taking.
2. Continue to take a standardized test (ACT or SAT) until you get the best score that you can. Be aware of what “Superscoring” is and if the college that you are applying to
Superscores” their testing.
3. Be involved in extracurricular activities both in and out of school. Also participate in community service.
Maintain high rigorous academic achievement
Take standardized test
Visiting is the most important thing that I think you can do before your senior year. Get to know an institution, don’t go off the word of a relative, a friend, or what you heard somewhere. Institutions are changing all the time. See for yourself.
By visiting schools with sharp contrasts it will give both the student and the family a better idea of what type of institution is right for them. When senior year comes along, now the student has a really good idea of what they do and don’t like which is significant in the narrowing down process and less stressful because they did their “homework” early.
During Junior year it is important to…
Maintain good grades
Take challanging courses
Take the PSAT in October
Sign up for and study for the SAT or ACT in the Spring
Stay involved (clubs, sports, community service, work etc.)
Research and tour prospective colleges
Ask for recommendations before the end of the school year
Three primary things here: 1. Keep your grades as high as possible without sacrificing curricular rigor or improve them. 2. Extensively prep for a standardized test. 3. If you haven’t already, start developing close relationships with the teachers you are going to ask for recommendations from.
Short Answer: Great grades. Detailed Answer: Great grades. (And don’t plan on getting Senioritis in your senior year. If you do get it and your grades tank, the college that accepted you based on those great junior year grades will rescind their offer of admission; you will probably cry and make excuses; but no one will feel bad for you.)
There are a number of things you should do before your senior year that can help in the application process. Indeed, by the time you finish your junior year you should have done some visiting and should have at least a preliminary list of colleges to which you plan to apply. If you have not yet taken an SAT or ACT you should be sure you are registered for a fall one. During the summer itself, you should start on applications. At its worst the whole application process can seem like another class so anything you can do—drafts of essays, entering the basic information on the Common application, whatever–can help ease that burden. Do some final visits, even though summer visits may not give you the best picture given the smaller number—if any–of students in attendance. Too, use the summer to undertake some kind of productive and substantive activity—an academic program, volunteer work, or a job. As you enter your senior year, you want to have the foundation from which to launch your application solidly in place.
Get the best grades and test scores possible, demonstrate intellectual enthusiasm by asking teachers of subjects that interest you for extra reading, demonstrate leadership in one or two extra curricular activities, plan a valuable summer enrichment activity, begin to visit colleges and think about what aspects of a college are most important to you.
Some people think that your senior year is full of things you need to do for college, but you really need to get a jump on things your junior year! I tell my students all the time to get started thinking about college, at least, by their junior year, and then its one less stressful thing to deal with during your senior year. First and foremost, you need to continue doing the best you can in school. Don’t become lazy because you only have a couple years left of high school. Make sure you stay on top of your grades and attendance! Also, if you are comfortable taking honors courses, AP courses, and college courses that may be offered at your high school, go for it. These classes will help get your prepared for college. Make sure you start taking the ACT and SAT tests your junior year! Start early, so you can get an idea of what the test is like. Maybe you will do great, or maybe you need some extra time to help bring up your score. Either way, the earlier the better. This is also the time to start thinking about what you want to do after high school. Do you want to go to a 4 year college/university, or maybe a community college, the military, a trade school, or go straight into the workforce? If college is what you choose, then you need to start researching colleges that you think would be a good fit for you. Take campus tours, make pros and cons lists of the schools, research majors of things you may be interested in, basically do your homework! Don’t just decide to go somewhere because that’s where your best friend or boyfriend/girlfriend are going. Now is also the time to start looking into scholarships!!! Again, this is something good to start looking into early. You may not be able to apply until your senior year, but if you have an idea of things that are out there, then you may have a jump on your competition. Research local scholarships first (you will have a better chance and local scholarships because you will not be competing with so many other people), then go onto to state and national scholarships. It’s never to early to start thinking about and planning for your future. You may not have a clear idea of what you want to do for the rest of your life, but planning for college your junior year, will definately make your senior year less stressful!
Congratulations on finishing up junior year! As a rising senior, here are some tips for making the most of your upcoming summer: 1. Take advantage of your free time. Get a part-time job or internship, volunteer at a local organization, take a summer class, or start your own business. The key to making the most of the summer before your senior year is to do something productive with your time. 2. Think about your letters of recommendation. If you have not already, brainstorm the people (teachers and others) who you feel would be able to best discuss you in a letter of recommendation for your college applications. Think about those who knows you best, who can speak about different aspects of you (academic and otherwise), and who you feel can add something to your application that has not yet been mentioned. 3. Begin brainstorming for the college essay. Use some brainstorming questions to generate ideas around what you might write about, what you want the admissions officers to know about you, and what you would like to convey about yourself in your essay. You might also consider looking at essay prompts for past application years and think about how you might answer those questions. 4. Continue narrowing your college list. Are you comfortable with the number of schools on your list? Is your list balanced between “reach schools” and “confident schools”? Would you be happy attending all of the schools on your final list? 5. Visit the colleges of interest to you. In a perfect world, try to visit all of the schools that have made it on to your college list. More realistically, though, take a look at your current list and try to visit one of each of the different types of schools on your list. Visit one large, state school for example, and then one smaller, private, liberal arts institution. This will help you better understand the factors that matter most to you. 6. Register for any remaining ACT/SAT tests. If you plan to take any remaining standardized tests in the Fall before applications are due, be sure to register for those in advance over the summer. 7. If you have not already, develop your extracurricular resume. This is your chance to write down all of your extracurricular activities from the start of high school until now. What groups/teams/organizations/clubs were you involved with? What was your role? How much time did you spend on each of these activities? What types of skills and experiences did each of these activities bring you? The more thought you can put into developing this resume over the summer, the easier time you will have completing this information on your applications in the Fall. 9. Develop a game plan for the Fall. Make sure that you have all of your college materials in one place (e.g., binder, folder on your computer, notebook, etc.), and develop a timeline of “to dos” to be completed. You might also find it helpful to map out all of the deadlines for your Fall applications (both early decision/action and regular decision). Collect any other necessary information that you might need for the application process (e.g., test scores, transcripts, etc). 10. Take a break! Taking a break from everything over the summer is a key component to being fully prepared to tackle the college application process in the Fall. If you can dedicate some time over the summer to the process, but also take some time for yourself, you will be prepared and rested for the applications to begin senior year. Good luck!
At the moment you are half way through your junior year. There are several things to do and think about before beginning your senior year. 1.If you have not taken the PSAT, I recommend doing so.
2. Start thinking about what colleges you might want to apply to but before doing so, I recommend completing some surveys to help you think about what you are looking for in a college. Ultimately you want to go to a college that is a good fit for you. One source for good surveys is in a book called College Match, by Steven R. Antonoff. Once you have an idea what you are looking for, you can start looking for colleges that fit some of your criteria. Places to look might be this site, the Fiske guide, The Princeton Review, talk to your high school counselor, an independent college counselor, The College Finder by Steven R. Antonoff are a few.
3. When you have a few colleges in mind, look at their websites and the sources above to get an idea of what tests you might need to take: SAT, ACT, SAT subtests, etc and sign up to take one or more.
4. Start brainstorming possible topics for college essays. Remember the essay should help a college know more about what makes you tick rather than all the wonderful things you have done.
5. Think about making some college visits, preferably not in the summer when most college campuses are pretty dead. Do some research on the colleges before visiting so you can try to add to what you already know. Talk to students there, grab the college newspaper.
6. All of this will keep you pretty busy but don’t forget to keep up your grades and sign up for the most rigorous classes for your senior year that you think you can handle!
7. Have fun doing this and good luck!
Get a real hold on your academics – do absolutely as well as you can. Even if you’ve not done particularly well in grades 9 and 10, it’s not too late to show people that you’re serious about doing well in school and are qualified for college work. Don’t give up your extra curricular activities, but pay good, efficient, determined attention to your school work. Your senior year is amazingly hectic, and it’s important to have a good academic base going into that year.
Making the most of your junior year is very important! There are steps you can take that will be especially beneficial when it comes to making the most of all opportunities presented to you both now and in the future, completing the applications themselves, and best preparing for the overall process. FALL SEMESTER OF JUNIOR YEAR
• Begin SAT or ACT preparation
• Register for ACT/SAT
• Begin to develop a balanced list of possible colleges
• Continue your involvement in extracurricular activities
• Continue to develop relationships with your teachers and counselors
• Develop a plan for college visits SPRING SEMESTER OF JUNIOR YEAR
• Take ACT or SAT
• Take on a summer internship, part-time job, volunteer experience, or pre-college program
• Continue to explore college list
• Register and complete additional SAT Subject Tests
• Register and complete AP exams
• Begin to consider the college factors that matter most
• Write a draft of your college application essay
• Begin to compile and prepare application materials
Start your game plan now. Don’t wait until Senior Year to being researching potential colleges. Visit colleges and start contacting current students and former students for more information about the college you’re interested in. The summer after Junior Year should be spent getting a leg up in the College Application Process. Get in some community services. Prepare for any test prep exams that you still need to take. I find that juniors should plan out testing early in the year so that you are done with the SAT or ACT by March at the latest. May and June should be saved for subject tests and AP’s. Senior fall testing should only be a fall back, one more chance to push up a score. The reason: it’s near impossible to target schools to visit unless you have a good grasp of where your SAT/ACT, subject tests, and AP scores fall. Besides testing, the main thing is to have a great junior year in terms of academic performance. Colleges want to see an upward grade trend as classes get progressively harder. Develop relationships with your teachers and your guidance counselor so they will know you well enough to write a great teacher evaluation. Students need an edge on the application process and these are extremely important in the process and can help applicants stand out. Make sure your Facebook profile is professional. Look yourself up on Google and make sure there is nothing online about yourself that will leave colleges with a bad impression of you. Have or create an E-mail address you will use for all your correspondences with colleges, teachers and the application process. Do not choose an address that will ruin a good first impression of you. Be sure to check and read this E-mail regularly. Be organized. Start a calendar with important test dates, deadlines and program events and open houses you might want to attend. Check that you are taking Junior/Senior Year courses that will challenge you and get you ready for College freshman year. For instance, if you are pursuing Engineering, take physics.
As a junior there are a few important things that you have to remember.
1. Keep up your grades. Do not slack off.
2. Take your SAT/ACT during your junior year. Do not wait until senior year. Use senior year tests to increase your scores if you need to do that.
3. Create a list of schools that you are interested in. Most students have over 15 schools. By the summer of junior year you should be able to shorten the list and make strategic choices for the application process.
4. Choose your senior classes wisely. We all know that you have almost finished your high school graduation requirements. Use the free time to take extra math or science classes, or an extra AP class. Or, you can use your free afternoons to take a class at your local community college.
5. Don’t dream away your summer between junior/senior year. Use this time to write your college essay and have a few people review and edit them.
6. Use your summer to enhance your resume. Intern or volunteer in your chosen career path. If you do not know what your career path will be, consider doing an on line assessment to help you narrow your choices down.
7. Visit any schools that are on your “short list” of schools to apply to. If you cannot visit the school, call them and ask for information or to speak to an admissions counselor. The least you should do is take a virtual tour to make sure you really want to apply.
As a Junior you need to be focussing on a few things: 1) Make sure your grades are the best that they can be, that you are taking good courses and have the right AP’s/college classes slated for your senior year. 2) You need to have a plan for your extracurriculars, work experience, a summer activity, and looking into school. 3)Researching and visiting schools is incredibly important, almost as important as determining what to study.
For students who will take SATII’s & the ACT in addition to the SAT, make sure you plan well to be able to take the tests multiple times if necessary to satisfy an particular college’s requirements. Also, be sure to pile on as many community service hrs as possible. Make sure your income for 2012 will be <$6,000, or you'll lose 50 cents in financial aid for every dollar earned over that. Obtain great LOR's now, to avoid the rush in the fall.
As a junior, make sure you take the PSAT exam always offered in October of your Junior year. Make sure when you are taking the test that you mark the answer sheet that you want to receive scholarship information. During the spring of your junior year, you should be planning on taking the SAT or ACT. Although these tests are not always used for admission, they also help with scholarships offered through the universities. Only take these tests if you are planning on going straight to a four year university and not to a community college first.
For students who will take SATII’s & the ACT in addition to the SAT, make sure you plan well to be able to take the tests multiple times if necessary to satisfy an particular college’s requirements. Also, be sure to pile on as many community service hrs as possible. Make sure your income for 2012 will be <$6,000, or you'll lose 50 cents in financial aid for every dollar earned over that. Obtain great LOR's now to avoid the rush in the fall.
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