By lwilliams Welcome to your junior year of high school. The next few months will be filled with excitement as you take another step closer to graduation and the next chapter of your life — college. You may already be feeling some pressure to narrow down your college choices and pick a potential major, but don’t stress over these decisions, as you still have plenty of time to find the right fit for you. The first half of the school year is the perfect time for you to start exploring your options and begin planning for your senior year. Simply follow this college guideline with a list of suggested activities to ensure you stay on track and end 2014 on a positive note. AUGUST Before school starts, get a jump on your college planning by tackling these easy tasks. Check out some college websites and request brochures Research upcoming college fairs Register for fall college tours Meet with your guidance counselor Review classes Discuss college entrance exams SEPTEMBER Now that school has been in session for a few weeks, it’s time to think about how you are going to impress admission officers next year. Here are some things to consider: Look into volunteer opportunities Start a campus club or take on a leadership position Create study groups for your most rigorous classes Mentor an elementary or middle school student Promote an anti-bullying campaign at school OCTOBER This month, keep working on your college tasks and start exploring potential campuses and careers. Attend college and financial aid events Take the PSAT Visit one or two colleges on your list Research possible internship opportunities for winter break Complete a career exploration assessment NOVEMBER/DECEMBER As you head into the holiday season, there are just a few things on your plate that will need your attention before you return next year. Register for the spring ACT and/or SAT Plan your spring college visits Study for college entrance exams The best way to keep from getting overwhelmed and stressed out is to knock off a few tasks each month and keep focused on your goals this year. Keep up your grades and use many of the test prep tools available to help you prepare for exams and research colleges. Don’t forget to start applying for scholarships, too. Many programs are open to high school juniors, so set aside some time each month to start working on your college savings fund. The work you put in this year will definitely make your senior year a lot less stressful.