As the school year draws to a close, here are a few things juniors should be thinking about as you prepare to apply to college. In the next few weeks, make an appointment with your school counselor to go over the following checklist items:
Confirm your course schedule for next year.
If you haven’t already, discuss your course selections with your college adviser. Make sure you have a balanced curriculum that shows you’re challenging yourself, but where you’ll still be able to maintain strong grades. If you’re not sure where to begin, read our advice on choosing your high school classes.
Reassess your college list.
Go over the list with your adviser and see if it needs to be refined based on your academic performance and standardized testing to date. Aim for a range of reach, target, and “safety” schools, and check if you still need to visit any of the schools. You might want revisit our strategies for building a college list to help you decide which schools to keep on your list. Finally, make sure you still like the colleges on your list!
Confirm your summer plans.
You should have something productive planned for at least a couple of weeks during the summer. This could include, among other possibilities, a pre-college program, internship, focusing on your art or music, summer job, or intensive community service project. If you don’t have any plans, opportunities will be more limited, but there are still options out there. If you’re not sure what your junior summer plans are, read our advice for summer planning.
Review your standardized testing.
Determine if you need to take any additional standardized tests, when you plan to take them, and set up a plan for test preparation and/or tutoring.
Familiarize yourself with the Common Application.
It’s a good idea to look ahead to the kind of information you’ll be asked to provide when it comes time to apply for college. You might start making notes about your activities or creating a resume. You can even start filling out the Common App. The Common App clears all of its data over the summer, but you can fill it out and store the information in an offline document to save yourself time down the line.
Don’t get too far ahead of yourself though! We recommend you wait until after junior year to begin the writing sections of the Common App.