Juniors Action Plan
Plan for the Year Ahead
Summer Between Junior and Senior Years
Plan for the Year Ahead
- Start with you: Make lists of your abilities, social/cultural preferences and personal qualities. List things you may want to study and do in college.
- Maintaining your grades during your junior year is important! Colleges put a lot of weight on your marks for this year.
- Make sure you're challenging yourself academically. Colleges will consider how difficult your courses are.
- Now is the time to really focus your career and college research.
- As you research education and career options, share your discoveries with your family. You'll be working together a lot over the next couple of years as you leave high school and enter college or pursue another path.
- Learn about colleges. Look at their Web sties. Talk to your friends, family, and teachers. List college features that interest you.
- Take another look at how you're managing your time. Are you able to comfortably fit in school and community activities while keeping your grades up? If not, take a look at what you can remove from your schedule. Your grades are your priority right now!
- Make a file to manage your college search, testing, and application data.
- If appropriate (for example, if your interested in drama, music, art, sports, etc), start to gather material for a portfolio.
- With your family, start to learn about financial aid. Read the Department of Education's Funding your Education (about federal aid programs). Use Getting Financial Aid published by the College Board and the financial aid calculator at www.collegeboard.com to estimate how much aid you might receive.
- Talk to your guidance counselor (or teachers, if you don't have access to a guidance counselor) about the following:
- Availability of and enrollment in AP classes.
- The possibility of concurrent enrollment: taking college-level courses before you graduate from high school.
- Schedules for the PSAT, SAT, SAT Subject, ACT plus Writing, and AP exams.
- Why you should take these exams and how they could benefit you.
- Which of these exams would be the best fit for you — and then sign up for those tests. Remember, you can always change your mind.
- Are you preparing for your exams yet? Take advantage of resources that are out there for you!
- Your academic record. Review it with your counselor and talk about ways to improve
- Do you know all of the admissions requirements for the colleges you plan to apply to? There may be more than just GPA and test scores that are taken into consideration. Do your research!
- Obtain schedules and forms for the SAT, SAT Subject, ACT plus Writing, and AP exams.
- Register for the PSAT exam offered in October. Remember that when you take the PSAT in your junior year, the scores will count towards the National Achievement Program (and it is good practice for the SAT).
- Keep an eye out for college nights in your community that you may want to attend.
- Take the PSAT if you registered for it this month.
- Narrow your list of colleges! Include a few Match schools (have requirements at your current GPA), a few Reach schools (have requirements above your current GPA), and at least one Safety school (have requirements below your GPA).
- Do any of your colleges require interviews? Begin scheduling interviews with the admissions counselors. Schedule a mock interview with someone from your support team to prepare in advance!
- If possible, schedule tours of the college grounds on the same days. You may want to try and visit the colleges and universities while classes are in session at those campuses. Many colleges will even let you sit in a class to see what it's like! Talk to students who are currently enrolled there to find out what it's really like! If you can't miss school try and visit the during your spring break and summer vacation.
- College life can be a big change — you're on your own! Try taking some small steps towards independence this year, perhaps with more responsibility around your house.
- You will receive your scores from the October PSAT if you took it that month. Depending on the results, you may want to consider signing up for free online SAT prep.
- Sign up to take the SAT in the spring. Register online or through your school. Fee Waivers are available for students with financial need.
- Look for senior year classes that will give you a strong transcript. This means challenging yourself with AP and Honors courses. You'll also want to look for classes that will fit your college study plans.
- Consider looking for a summer job or internship. Not only can you earn money for college, you can also learn valuable skills.
- Sign up for both a math and English course senior year. Students who complete their last math course in their junior year or earlier often have difficulties with the required college-level mathematics courses. Completing through a minimum of Algebra II, and taking a math and English course senior year, can help you avoid having to invest time and money in college remediation courses that do not count towards your degree.
- Continue with your campus tours online or in person. You want to be narrowing down your list of potential colleges.
- Register for the March SAT or the April ACT plus Writing, or both.
- Research the requirements of the colleges you're interested in to learn about admission deadlines and which tests to take.
- Take the March SAT exam if you registered to take it this month.
- If you are interested in taking an AP exam, you should sign up now. If your school does not offer the AP exams, check with your guidance counselor to find schools in the area that do administer the exams, as well as the dates and times they're offered.
- Take the April ACT plus Writing test if you registered for this month.
- Do you know when your parent(s)/guardian(s) submitted their taxes this year? You'll want to encourage them to submit between January and March next year when you apply for your FAFSA.
- Take the AP, SAT and SAT Subject exams.
- Talk to teachers, mentors, and counselors about writing letters of recommendation for you. Think about what you would like to include in these and politely ask your teachers if they can help.
- Do you have a resume? If not, then write one! Have your support team review it for you. A resume will help when you ask teachers to give you letters of recommendation.
- Add any new report cards, test scores, honors or awards from the year to your file and to your resume!
- Rank your colleges! Talk to your family, counselors, and mentors to decide which schools are your top choices.
- Continue with your college visits. Call ahead for appointments with the financial aid, admissions and academic advisors at the colleges in which you are most interested.
- If you go on interviews or visits, don't forget to send thank-you notes. Make sure to get a business card from each person you meet. This will help you build your network. Also, a hand-written thank you note is better than an e-mail!
- Take the SAT, SAT Subject and the ACT plus Writing exams if you're registered.
Summer Between Junior and Senior Years
- Continue to work on your application essays and review the application procedures for the colleges you plan to apply to. If you haven't already, identify 2-3 people to review your essay drafts.
- Have you heard of Early Decision and Early Action? Early Decision is an option if you know exactly which college you want to go to, have done your research, and are prepared to go there if you are accepted. If you are accepted through Early Decision, you MUST go there. Early Action allows you to apply to a college early and get your decision early, but you do NOT have to commit to it early. Both options require you to submit your applications early, typically between October and December of your senior year.
- Read your college mail and send reply cards to your schools of interest. Do you have more than one email address (e.g. Yahoo, AOL, Gmail)? Pick one and STICK to it. Have your other email accounts forward to it. You don't want to miss any important emails because you weren't checking the right one often enough.
- Start thinking about how you will cover your college application fees. Determine if you are eligible for fee waivers!
- Continue to talk to people who have attended college to learn about their experiences.