If you’re a junior in high school and you’re thinking about coasting the rest of the way through to your senior year, think again. Planning for college should have already begun, but if you’re behind due to schoolwork or extra curricular activities, there’s still time to get your ducks in a row so you can enjoy your summer break. Here are 5 things juniors in high school should do before the end of the school year:
1. Narrow Your Field of Study
While it’s not essential that you decide exactly what you want to focus your studies on right away, it will help you with the college selection process if you narrow it down to 3 or 4 potentials before the end of the year. Take some time to talk with friends, family, teachers, and school career counselors to discuss what you’re good at and what your interests are – they may know about certain career paths you’ve never considered.
2. Prepare for College Visits
The first step here is to determine which colleges you’d be interested in. Several factors should go into this decision: How far are they from home? Can you afford the tuition? What programs do they offer? How’s the campus life? Do some research online before committing to a college visit, but actually going and spending a couple of days on campus can really help with your decision.
3. Take the SAT/ACT
You should plan to take at least one of the two major standardized tests before your senior year. This will help you focus on the individual tests themselves for a longer period of time without overlapping and give you time to retake either the ACT or the SAT if you’re not satisfied with the result the first time around.
4. Consider Your Financial Aid Strategy
Have a frank conversation about your family’s financial ability to pay for your education. Talk with your parents about your college fund (if there is one) and think about which schools you can afford to attend. Begin researching and applying for scholarships to help alleviate the burden on yourself and your family. Remember – the less you have to borrow now, the easier it’ll be post-graduation.
5. Seek Outside Support
If you’re struggling with your college admissions process, seek help from a guidance counselor. Their experience can be a great benefit to you during this transitional period of your life. For students who are worried about the ACT/SAT preparation process, a test preparation course may be the best option to boost scores and better prepare yourself for the test date.
Sandweiss Test Prep is the Seattle area’s premier test preparation organization and has been helping students achieve their academic goals since 1998. As part of our guided test preparation courses, students have the opportunity to ask questions and develop their own strategies for tackling the SAT or ACT with the help from instructors.