The past two weeks I have made a list for freshmen and sophomores on how to be prepared for college. While those years are important, Junior year has the most responsibilities for college bound students. Like most students I knew I was going to college, but that assumption made me ignore important steps when preparing. The beginning of this past year, when I started applying to schools, I made it so hard on myself because I was lazy and had little drive my junior year. I should have set my priorities with college in mind.
To help you have college in mind, I have come up with some tips for high school juniors:
1. ACT/SAT is priority- In my experience, colleges prioritize students by ACT/SAT scores. While GPA should not be ignored, the higher the test score the more opportunities there are for scholarships. For example, I have an older brother and sister that attend the same college. In high school my brother’s GPA was a 3.7 and my sisters was a 4.3, while she was more studious than he was, my brother received more scholarship money because he had a higher ACT score. When studying for the ACT/SAT it is almost impossible to learn and remember all the rules and formulas for the different problems. Instead, practice and learn how take the test. Find out what stratagy works best for you, the more comfortable you are testing the easier the test becomes.
2. Push yourself- This year was the hardest for me by far. I took three AP classes. While that might be overwhelming to have so many, I suggest you take as many as you think you can handle. Like I have said before, the class that will get you an easy A is not going to help you in college courses.
3. Build your resume- Continue to stay active in the activities and organizations in which you are a part.
4. Search and apply for scholarships- Even though they can be in small amounts, it is still less money you or your parents have to pay for your education.
5. Start making a list of colleges that interest you- It can seem overwhelming at first but it gets easier. Thinking about simple things like cost and distance can help you narrow down your options. When you come up with a list of possibilities, be aware of deadlines. Some colleges allow you to apply as soon at the beginning of August before your senior year.
6. AP Exams- If you are taking AP classes, put effort into your end of the year exams. You can avoid taking and paying for classes if you score well. I am eating my words on this one, I didn’t care and did not get any credits from my exam scores.
7. Enjoy your summer- It is sad but this is the last one you will have without the stress of getting ready for college. Don’t expect to have your future figured out your
Junior year. It is hard to be motivated for something that is 2 years away, but try to make yourself. You will be thankful you put in the extra effort when you begin your Senior year. With The Horizon Point’s College Checklist, you can be ready for the responsibilities for this year and your senior year. You may also want to check out Horizon Point’s College and Career Prep email subscription plan to help you stay on track starting your junior year.