As a high school junior, it’s important to get ahead of the game for college. Don’t wait until the fall of your senior year to start thinking about college admissions, since there are many things you can be doing now to prepare yourself for college.
When college admissions officers are reviewing transcripts, your grades from junior year are the final grades they will see when you are applying. Knowing this, push yourself in all of your classes your junior year.
Make your Senior year a challenge
It’s important to challenge yourself with your coursework your senior year. If you have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement courses, then sign-up for them. Even if you receive a B instead of an A on the more advanced classes, it’s important for admissions to see that you chose a rigorous schedule and didn’t just go through the motions for your senior year. When you are applying for colleges, admissions counselors will look at the classes you chose and that may make an impact on their decision to admit you to their college.
ACT and SAT tests
During your junior year you can study for the ACT and/or SAT tests and take them. If you have already taken them, you can continue to improve your scores. Unlike the standardized tests you take in high school, the ACT and SAT tests require extensive studying, so sign-up for prep classes or use prep software. These tests cover a ton of material, so it’s not something you can study for just a couple days on if you want to score really well. Your scores can impact whether you are accepted into a college, so make sure you put in the effort to perform well!
Do you know your school counselors?
It’s important to get to know your high school counselor. If you need a recommendation letter for college, you want your counselor to be able to write about you specifically, rather than giving you a generic letter that could apply to any student. Take the time to visit your counselor, get to know him or her and vice-versa. The more your counselor knows about you, the easier it will be to create a letter of recommendation that will make you stand out!
Get to know your teachers
Just as it’s important to get to know your counselor, the same applies to your teachers. If you have more than a superficial relationship with your teachers, they will be able to write a letter of recommendation that applies to you well. If you know what major you want to explore in college, discuss with a teacher in that field. Knowing what your interests are will help them write a more applicable letter of recommendation.
Begin or update your resume
Your junior year is a good time to start or update your resume. If you haven’t started yet, create an inventory of activities and accomplishments. You can use this inventory to give to individuals who are writing letters of recommendation for you. It’s difficult for counselors and teachers to know everything students are involved in, especially if they have multiple requests for letters, so giving them a detailed list of all your activities and accomplishments will allow them to personalize the letter for you. Your resume also serves as a cheat sheet when you are applying for college. Each time you have a new activity or accomplishment, add to your inventory. Once you go to apply for your top colleges, it will be easier to list everything rather than having to recall from memory.
Attend college fairs
Don’t wait until your senior year to get questions answered when you can now! See if there are any college fairs close to you your junior year and attend.
Connect with colleges
Sign-up for the mailing lists of your top-choice schools. Not only will you receive up-to-date information, but it will also show demonstrated interest, which is important once you are applying for those schools. Connect with these schools through social media to see what is happening on campus.
You can explore websites and brochures for colleges, but the best way to really experience what it could be like to attend the school is to schedule an on-campus visit or tour. Not only will you gain something from the experience, but it will again show your demonstrated interest to the school.
Plan your summer wisely
Don’t make the mistake of planning your summer before senior year around vacation and relaxing. It’s good to include a little of those things, but you should also use your summer to be involved in programs, internship opportunities and volunteer work. All of these activities will look great on your college resume and can set you apart from other students.
Your junior year of high school is a great time to prepare for college. Use this time wisely to make yourself stand-out from the crowd. Challenge yourself, as this time could impact your acceptance into your top college!
If you need help getting your high school prepared for college, Optimum Ed can help. Give us a call @800-457-1364 or send us a message.