Your junior year is a good time to start preparing in earnest for college, and making a step-by-step plan to work through next year’s applications.
Meet with your school counselor about the year ahead. Ensure that your courses and your grades put you on the right track for college admission; there is still time to pull your grades up if you begin now. Also ask about test dates for the PSAT, ACT, and SAT, and find out if your school offers any test preparation classes, or if you qualify for a fee waiver.
Take the PSAT. You’ll need to register up to six weeks ahead of time, so look into this right away. Taking the test as a junior will qualify you for some scholarship consideration and identify you to colleges as a potential applicant. When you receive the results (usually in December), review them to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses. Discuss the results with your family and school counselor to make a study plan for the ACT or SAT.
Consider your extracurriculars. If you haven’t participated in many activities outside of class, now is the time to look at signing up. Decide which clubs at schools, team sports, leadership roles, or involvement in your religious or civic community group would best fit your interests and talents and make a commitment. Colleges prefer to see serious involvement, over shallow engagements.
Begin researching scholarships. Start bookmarking links and keeping track of the names and due dates for scholarships that need to be completed in the future. You may find some that you can qualify for with one additional class or activity, and now you have the time to get that extra qualification. To get started with an online scholarship search, go to Tuition Funding Sources. This website offers students access to over 7 million scholarships totaling more than $41 billion in scholarship awards, along with a career aptitude test and detailed college and career information.