Once you hit junior year, the idea of college starts to become more real every day. Junior year is a great time to start preparing for college so that you are on schedule, and possibly ahead of the game. This post outlines some of the steps I took during junior year that can help everything go as smoothly as possible for your senior year!
Take the SAT or ACT
If you can manage to get a score that you’re satisfied with during your junior year, it will decrease the amount of stress you’ll face during your senior year. It will also give you the option of applying early action or early decision. If you are still taking the SAT or ACT during fall semester of your senior year, you’ll have to do regular decision because your scores will not be ready to be sent to colleges on time. To get started, check out my post on whether you should take the ACT or SAT here!
Start researching colleges
If you already have an idea of some schools that might interest you, visit their websites to learn more about majors they offer, cost of attendance, and to get a view of life on campus. You can make use of a website like www.bigfuture.collegeboard.com to find colleges that are a good fit for you and learn more about them. This website has a lot of good resources for planning your future. If you decide on some schools you like during junior year, it’s not a bad idea to start visiting. Here’s why you should go on tours of schools.
Talk to a counselor
Counselors are there to help you and to provide resources for you. During senior year you will most likely have mandatory meetings with your counselor, but I recommend scheduling a personal meeting to ask them some questions. Your counselor can help you decide which classes to take to benefit you the most, and can inform you on things like your GPA, colleges coming to visit your school, and any programs or scholarships your school might offer that you weren’t aware of.
Join some clubs
If you aren’t already in some clubs that you enjoy, junior year is a good time to start joining. Colleges like to see participation as well leadership. It’s great to join clubs that interest you, and even better if you can get a leadership position in a new club, or a club that you’re already a member of. Junior year is when most honor societies start taking applications and/or inviting juniors to join. Keep an eye out for information regarding honor societies and speak to the teacher sponsors if there are any that particularly interest you. You can also speak to your counselor about honor societies if you are unsure of which ones your school has.
Do some volunteer work
Junior year is a great year to start bulking up your resume for college before it’s too late. Besides being involved in extracurriculars, it’s always a good idea to get some volunteer work under your belt. Not only does it look good on your application and when you’re trying to get recommendation letters, but it also betters you as a person. Try to truly involve yourself in the volunteer work you do; think about the people you are helping and not just how much College X will love you for this. Try contacting local homeless shelters, animal shelters, retirement homes, the Red Cross, or Habitat for Humanity. Also, most schools have clubs that do service projects that you can sign up for if you are having trouble finding places to volunteer on your own.
Consider getting a job
This is not something I’d recommend to every teenager out there, but if you have the availability in your schedule, a job can be a great thing. It helps to teach you responsibility because you are held accountable for your actions, and it’s always nice to have a little extra mula. It shows that you can balance your regular high school life with something a little more “real world” and adult. Check your local grocery stores, cafes, restaurants, and retail stores for openings.
If you have accomplished at least some of the things on this list by the end of your junior year you should be in good shape to have a great senior year! Is there any other advice you’ve received on things to do before senior year to prepare for college? Share in the comments!