10 Things Every High School Junior Should Do To Prepare For College

April 20, 2023

Your junior year is critical to your college application process. While you should remain focused on high school, being proactive keeps you from rushing through your applications. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement and adventure of high school, so be sure to add these steps to your planner.

  1. Assemble Your Family Finances

Figure out how much money you and your family will contribute toward school. While scholarships help you pay for college, you will likely apply for undergraduate student loans. Take the time to research how different options affect your loan terms:

  • Variable rates versus fixed rates
  • Deferred payment versus flat payment
  • Principal and interest payment versus interest-only payment
  1. Meet With Your Counselor

Your school counselor has a lot of information. They help you choose classes that make the best impression on your college application. While it can be tempting to take easy classes and boost your Grade Point Average, colleges expect you to maintain high educational standards throughout high school.

  1. Take the Necessary Tests

Understand each college’s application requirements, including the required standardized tests. Many colleges no longer require a standardized test score to apply. If you are a good test-taker, it is beneficial to take the ACT or the SAT. The testing company can send your score to the colleges to which you are applying.

  1. Generate a Resume

If you haven’t already, write down your high school and life achievements and awards. Colleges want to know your grades and what you have accomplished in high school. They also need a summary of extra-curricular activities. Writing these things down now helps you keep track so you don’t have to rely on memory when completing applications. You can also use this information when creating a theme for your essay.

  1. Identify References

Ask several people to provide a reference. If you have more people than you need, you can be selective in whom you ask to write a referral. These letters help colleges determine how you will fit in at the school. Letters of reference can be provided by:

  • Teachers
  • Managers
  • Co-workers
  • Volunteer coordinators
  • Coaches
  • Non-classroom teachers (i.e., piano teachers)
  1. Look for Internships

Only about 25% of college graduates work in their degree field. Internships can give you first-hand experience in your major. You will learn if the day-to-day operations of that job interest you. Some students shy away from internships in favor of earning money for college. If a major doesn’t interest you, changing your course plan late in college can extend your schooling.

  1. Find Yourself

Most colleges ask for a personal statement. This statement reflects your unique style. The key to a good personal statement is to showcase your personality, sense of humor, and style. Find ways to showcase how you stand out from other applicants.

  1. Visit Colleges

You have probably received several invitations to visit colleges. These are great opportunities to take a campus tour and meet enrolled students. You get to experience campus dining options and examine dorm rooms. Tour several colleges, even those that are not high on your list. You may find a gem in one of these schools that you hadn’t considered.

  1. Apply for Scholarships

In addition to Federal Student Aid and a student loan, apply for scholarships to offset tuition costs. Most colleges strategically apply funding to your financial aid package.

  1. Involve Your Parents

Talk with your parents or guardians to determine if they have any college recommendations. Many schools offer legacy scholarships for children of graduates. Parents may prefer that you take advantage of specific campus housing options. Ask their opinion on how far away you should travel. Your parents can also help you determine if you should study abroad.

With these steps in place, you are on track for a fun and memorable junior year of high school. These steps set you up for a great college experience.

Emiy Watson

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