It’s January, which means it’s officially kick-off season for juniors to begin the college process. If you start now, you can break the process down into manageable steps and it will all feel much less overwhelming! In this blog, we outline the typical winter timeline for juniors. If you get these things done over the winter and spring, your summer and fall of senior year will be much easier.
Most colleges site high school grades and testing (ACT or SAT) scores as the top two criteria in the admissions process. So, now is the perfect time to devise a plan that will help you do the best you can in these two areas. Decide if you are going to take the ACT or SAT (more on that here). Then, study and plan to take the test you choose twice (or three times max). If you are considering schools that require the SAT Subject tests, you should study and plan a date to take those as well. Put your testing dates on the calendar and try to stick to that plan. As for grades, keep in mind that junior and senior year courses and grades are really important and do the best you can do. Study, meet with teachers, pick courses that are challenging (but not too much so!) and work really hard… it will pay off!
Big Picture Time
Now that you have worked out a plan for testing and courses, start thinking about what qualities you want in your dream college. Perhaps even close your eyes and picture yourself there. Is it large or small? What courses are you taking? What are the other students like? Where is it located? Once you get some of those big criteria sorted out, a college counselor can help you devise an initial list of colleges that fit.
Travel and Visit
Once you have a list of schools that may be good fits for you, it’s time to start visiting. Trust us, do your college tours now!! Students who wait until summer see college campuses that are empty and lifeless. If you wait until fall, you will be busy with school and college applications and you will wish you had done it earlier. Consider using your winter and/or spring breaks to tour schools.
If you can narrow down your list now, you will be in a much better place later. Just as much as campus tours are great for determining what you like, they also help you determine what you don’t like. So, this is the point at which your list may need some adjusting. Perhaps a school that seemed like a perfect match before isn’t as appealing now, or maybe even your criteria has changed. It would be ideal to head into the summer months having a pretty good idea of the schools you plan to apply to.
One of the advantages of working with Campus Bound is that we work with students during the summer months. If you get all of the above completed before summer (we can help you with all of that too!), we can spend July and August working on applications and essays. It is a huge advantage to enter fall of senior year with the college process mostly completed. Your friends may be just starting, but you will be relaxed and ready to focus on your schoolwork.