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Junior Year Planning Guide

Fall Semester

Maintaining your grades during your junior year is very important. Make sure you are challenging yourself academically; colleges will consider the degree of difficulty for your courses.

Now is the time to really start focusing on your career and college research. Start making a list of colleges you are interested in attending. The school website under the "Counseling" tab has some good websites that can help you do your college research. As you research education and career options, talk about these options with your family.

Talk to your counselor about:

  • How to prepare for the ACT Test
  • How to research potential colleges/careers
  • Questions you have about college, financial aid, going on college visits, etc.

Winter and Spring

Many students automatically decide they are going to go to a 4-year college or to a community college to do their "generals" and then transfer to a 4-year college. One thing more students need to consider is looking at the 1- or 2-year college programs that are available at technical and community colleges. These programs are great opportunities for students, especially considering too many young people are attending 4-year colleges when they aren't academically ready to attend a 4-year school. 

Try to narrow the list of colleges you are considering attending. Include a few "Good-Match" schools (have requirements at your current GPA), a few "Reach" schools (have requirements above your current GPA), and at least one "Safety" school (have requirements below your GPA).

Schedule tours for the colleges you are interested in. Try to visit colleges while classes are in session at those campuses. Many colleges will let you sit in on a class to see what it's like. Check out the majors that college offers to make sure you are interested in some of the programs they offer. 

Take a look at "Common App" Online to see if there are colleges on there that you are interested in. For Common App, you fill out just one application, and you select the schools where you want your application submitted. This approach takes away your need to apply to all the colleges separately.

Take a look at Questbridge Online. This is a program for students in approximately the top 5-10% of their grade. Students selected as finalists for this program are able to receive "full-ride" scholarships to some of the top colleges in America. It isn't a requirement, but Questbridge generally selects students from households that make approximately $65,000 or less per year.

Spring Semester

Register for senior-year classes that will challenge you so you are better prepared for college. Make sure to include a Math and Science senior year to help you be prepared for college-level Math and Science courses.

Prepare for the ACT Test that you will take in April of your junior year. It's also good to take the ACT a 2nd time in June. Talk to your counselor or visit the school website if you need help finding ACT Prep resources.

Based on the colleges you are interested in, look on their websites to see if you need any letters of recommendation written for you. Also, right now is a good time to create your resume. Your resume will help you when you are filling out college applications and asking teachers or employers to write you letters of recommendation.

Summer between Junior and Senior year

Finish visiting any of the colleges you are interested in. Talk with your family about the colleges you are interested in attending.

Start finalizing the list of colleges you plan on applying to in the fall of your senior year. Your final list should include a few "Good-Match" schools (have requirements at your current GPA), a few "Reach" schools (have requirements above your current GPA), and at least one "Safety" school (have requirements below your GPA).

Prepare for the start of your senior year and make sure your schedule properly challenges you. This will help you be more prepared for your first year in college.