You're up, Junior

While the summer weather isn’t exactly fading away, summer vacation is. Sorry, students, but you have only a few precious weeks before the demands of the school year start to creep back. As memories of long days at beaches and pools and late nights at concerts and movies wane in the face of back-to-school shopping, you, lucky Juniors, have more to worry about this year than your standard class load. That’s right, college-bound brainiacs, you’re time has come. If you’re lucky, you’ve seen older siblings struggle through this process and eventually reap the rewards. If you are the first to embark on this long, long journey, don’t worry. Think of what an inspiration you’ll be to those who come after.

When it comes to preparing for college admissions, I’ve noticed there are 2 popular attitudes:

  1. So much to do and so little time!
  2. So little to do and so much time!

Regardless of the tack you take, a little organization goes a long way. Below is a break down of things you should be sure to do during your junior year of high school. Please note that this is only a rough outline, you high school counselor can help you devise something more detailed and personal for you. Counselors are great resources, and you should take full advantage of them. Don’t be shy!

Fall Semester (August – December)

  • Meet with guidance counselor to talk about college. Are you on course to get all credits you need to graduate? Make a schedule for the college application process.
  • Research colleges and universities. Use the Internet, go to College Fairs.
  • Begin Test Prep for SAT/PSAT. Since you have to take the PSAT fall of your junior year, you might as well prep for both the PSAT and the SAT and kill two birds with one stone! (Editor’s note: ATS does not condone the killing of small woodland creatures.)
  • Take PSAT.
  • Take SAT Oct. (Again with the birds)

Spring Semester (January-May)

  • College Visits. Take a tour, spend the night in a dorm, eat in the cafeteria and sit in on a class.
  • Prep for the SAT/ACT.
  • Take SAT/ACT.
  • Take AP exams.

Summer Semester (June- August)

  • Consider SAT II Exams. (Take them in June if you’ve already taken a corresponding AP exam.)
  • Take SAT/ACT. (3rd time’s the charm!)
  • More College Visits.
  • Finalize your favorite colleges list.
  • Do things to make your college application shine. Summer internships, volunteering or summer enrichment programs.
  • Contemplate who you are as a person. (This is good not just for life in general but especially for your personal essay.)

I hope this outline guides you on your college admissions journey. Remember, it doesn’t have to be scary–just stay organized and use all the tools available to you.

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