With sophomore year coming to an end, you might be anxiously awaiting the start of your junior year. This is often the most academically challenging year of high school, and it can be made even more stressful as the college application process draws near. However, by planning ahead, you can feel confident and prepared at the conclusion of junior year. Here are some aspects of the college planning process that you should be thinking about:
- Get to know your teachers: Your junior year teachers are the ones who will likely be writing your letters of recommendation, so it is important that you make an effort to get to know them as soon as possible. Remember that colleges often like to see letters of recommendation relating to your academic area of interest. If you’re a budding engineer, get to know your math and science teachers. If you are a future journalist, be sure to discuss those goals with your English teacher.
- Build a preliminary school list: If you haven’t already, junior year is the time to begin researching colleges. Take advantage of opportunities your school provides to meet with admissions representatives through visits during the school day or evening college fairs. By the end of junior year, you should have a list of approximately one to two “safety” schools, four to six “target” schools, and one to two “reach” schools.
- Begin standardized testing: You’ll likely take the PSAT in October, but you may also want to take a practice ACT to determine whether the SAT or ACT is the best test for you. When planning your testing schedule, keep in mind that most students will need to take the SAT or ACT twice to achieve their best score. Some universities may also require SAT Subject Tests. If you are an international student and English is not your first language, you will be required to take the TOEFL exam.
- Schedule campus visits: Winter and Spring break of your junior year are perfect times to visit some of the universities on your list. Check out our recent blog post on planning college visits for ways to make the most of your time on campus.
Junior year can be an exciting time in the college application process, but it’s important to start planning now. Want to get more advice from one of our former admissions counselors? Contact us today to schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation.