Junior Year? Kick College Planning Into High Gear
If you’ve waited till junior year to do college planning, now is the time to rev up your efforts.
It’s junior year, where are you at with your college planning?
Junior year may be the most important single year of high school for college preparation.
Though it may seem like a daunting task, once you get started, the process can be exciting and fun…
Here are a few quick tips to kick your college planning and preparation into high gear.
Take the PSAT
Taking the PSAT will help you get an idea of what percentile you fall in within the nation. From there, you’ll be able to figure out which schools you have a good shot of getting into, and if you should invest in an SAT prep course. Also, it’ll help take some of the fear out of the impending SATs – the PSAT will give you a rough idea of what the big one will be like.
Meet with College Counselors
Make an appointment to meet with a school counselor so you know what you can do in your junior year of high school for college planning. Your counselor will be able to direct you towards schools, based on your interests, high school GPA and your PSAT scores.
Choose a Major
Start thinking about subjects you enjoy studying and careers that spark an interest with you. Books such as, What Color Is Your Parachute?, are a great way to learn about different areas of study you may find interesting and do well in.
While it isn’t mandatory to choose a major when you’re college planning, having an idea of what you want to study will help you choose schools that have programs geared to your interests. After all, you don’t want to end up in a school that specializes in medicine when you’re interests lie in the fine arts!
If you’re a junior in high school, it’s a good idea to start making appointments to visit different schools you’re interested in. College planning is not only about deciding what you want to study, it’s important to get a feel for the college campus and atmosphere. You’ll be spending the next four years there, so choose a place that feels right for you.
Take AP Courses
Make sure to add honors or AP courses to your junior year schedule. You’ll boost your GPA and show college admissions officers that you’re serious about academics. In 2010 over 670,000 students took an AP in their junior years, according to the College Board, with many taking more than one. The most popular APs in junior year: English Language and Composition and U.S. History.
Researching scholarships junior year will give you enough time to apply by their deadlines and get an idea of what your out-of-pocket college costs will be. This may help you make some school-related decisions – public college as opposed private colleges, for example.
Start Assembling Your Application Materials
Making a list of schools you would like to apply to and organizing a checklist of what needs to be done for each application is a great thing to start toward the end of 11th grade. It may seem early, but you might want to start thinking about recommendations from teachers and other materials.
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