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A Checklist for High School Juniors

Checking It Twice: A Checklist for High School Juniors

High school juniors are a few short years away from starting college, but as many parents will tell you, those years fly by. While your students are still earning high school credits for their diploma, they also need to prepare for the next stage of their education. What’s the best way to remember all of the details for applications and admission? A checklist! A college checklist for juniors can help you stay organized and keep track of any deadlines to take some of the stress out of the college application process.

Just the Basics

When you think of all that goes into college preparation, you can feel overwhelmed or consumed by the many little things that must be done. A checklist can help you prioritize tasks and to keep you on track and ahead of deadlines. Here are some things to remember or steps you might want to include in a college checklist for juniors.

All Year Long

These items should be ongoing throughout junior and even senior year:

  • Study, do your homework, and work hard to maintain or improve your GPA.
  • Look deeper into career options to see what appeals to you and what education is needed.  Job shadowing is a great way to learn more about career opportunities. 
  • Talk to your teachers and cultivate relationships with them. These are the people who know what kind of student you are and may write your letters of recommendation.
  • Create a calendar and check it regularly to make sure you meet any deadlines for application materials or test dates.
  • Start a file to list achievements that you can include on your college applications. Include awards, certificates, internships, and a record of your community service hours.

For the Fall

In the first semester of your junior year, you should spend some time:

  • Meeting with a school counselor to verify your GPA at the beginning and the end of your junior year.  Be sure you are on track with the correct credits for graduation. You should review your transcript for accuracy.
  • Looking at the testing schedules for the ACT and SAT and signing up for test dates before the end of the year. You may want to sign up for the PSAT in order to be considered for any national merit scholarships.
  • Researching colleges to learn more about where you might like to go. Consider factors such as entrance requirements, size of student body, location, and choice of majors.
  • Searching for scholarships. Every penny counts when it comes to your education. If you can find additional funds through non-profits, essay contests, foundations, and corporations, you may be able to reduce your loan debt.

In the Spring

The second half of your junior year is a good time to:

  • Study for the ACT and SAT. If you have already taken the tests, you may want to enroll in a test prep course to improve your scores if you take them a second time.
  • Learn more about financial aid and what information you will need to complete the FAFSA form.
  • Begin applying for scholarships.
  • Stay involved in extra-curricular activities.
  • Check for any special requirements for NCAA sports if you plan to play on the collegiate level.
  • Schedule tours to colleges to visit the campuses and learn more about the institutions.
  • For your senior year, enroll in challenging classes; continue taking AP and IB classes if you are currently on that track.

You Can Do it

You can keep the momentum going over the summer before your senior year. Use some of your break to begin working on application essays or financial aid forms. Continue visiting colleges and talking to current students to get a good idea of what to expect when you go to college. If you want to apply for early acceptance, be sure to check the due dates and get your paperwork completed on time.

A college checklist for juniors is a wonderful tool to help you and your student catch all the details and deadlines. The process of organizing your college application tasks can teach your student the benefits of goal-setting and may even improve study habits.  

 “May the Force be with you.”