Your junior year in high school is pivotal as you plan for your college education. You will have to concentrate even harder on making good grades and taking all your required classes. Standardized tests such as the ACT and SAT, as well as AP Placement tests, will be part of this school year.
If you haven't started your college planning strategy yet, this is the year you need to get organized and make it a priority. Devise a filing system and start gathering materials you'll need when completing college applications. This includes all your high school accomplishments, work experiences, leadership roles, community and non-profit work, and awards and honors.
- Determine your college list by financial fit using ASLA’s College Cost Calculator to understand college costs, see how far your money will stretch and find the best financing options.
- Be sure you are taking a challenging course schedule including college preparatory, AP, and honors classes when available and appropriate. Many colleges and universities allow high school students to simultaneously enroll in college courses for credit. In most cases, students earn both college and high school credit for the same course.
- Register in early fall for the October PSAT (Practice SAT) which will also serve as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying exam.
- Continue to utilize free test preparation resources available online and elsewhere, such as the SAT and ACT websites' free practice tests, and sites focusing specifically on college entrance preparation, such as https://www.number2.com and https://www.march2success.com.
- Start searching for scholarship opportunities and make a timeline for application deadlines for your senior year. Utilize scholarship search websites, such as ASLA College Planning Service's Free Scholarship Search.
- Begin to make a list of your college selection priorities.
- Investigate potential colleges of interest. Use catalogs, publications, websites, college fairs and online college campus tours to gather more information.
- Register for and take the SAT or ACT in the spring. Find out what tests are required by the colleges you are considering attending.
- In the spring, register for and complete AP tests for any AP courses you are currently taking in high school.
- Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center if you plan to play sports at a Division I or II college (beginning in the summer following your junior year).
- Begin visiting college campuses. While summer is often convenient for families to schedule campus visits, it is not always the best time to see a school. Try to visit a college when classes are in session and students are on the campus.
- Remember, spring and summer earnings during and after your junior year can affect your financial aid.
- Start or continue to save for college. The federal government assumes every family will contribute something toward the cost of attending college.