Juniors: Your college admissions season starts NOW!
It may seem one does not need to start thinking about applying to college until one is a senior… but nothing could be further from the truth!
Juniors need to start now to stay on track and be ready to get applications done in the fall.
One of the most important things is to get your standardized testing plan in order.
You took your PSAT in October and got your scores, so you know where you need to work to improve your scores for the SAT. But have you taken a practice ACT yet? If not, you should.
The ACT and SAT are not only different styled tests; they emphasize different things.
Students frequently decide that one test suits their learning style and academic strengths more than another one does. Find out early which one you like, and study hard.
Students should strive to take the test of their choice no more than two times.
Are you taking AP classes? If yes, make sure you know when the exams will be held and try not to load other tests at the same time.
Are you applying to schools that want SAT subject tests? You will need to fit those into your schedule as well.
Give serious thought to which teachers you want to ask to write your recommendations. Most more selective schools will want two teacher recommendations in addition to your counselor recommendation.
If you do not think that there is a teacher who knows your academic strengths well enough to write for you, then you need to make sure in this semester that you make an effort to stand out.
Have you verified with your counselor that you are on track with all your required coursework for graduation, in addition to required and recommended courses for the colleges to which you may want to apply?
Keep in mind that your counselor is going to write a recommendation for you, and the more you are able connect with him or her, the better equipped they will be to write a strong recommendation for you.
This does not mean go see them daily; it means show yourself to be an engaged student who will make a good impact on whatever college is lucky enough to get you!
Have you started to think about where you might like to attend college?
What kind of school… large? Small? Public? Private? Make sure you plan to attend the college fair in April, and if you can, maybe try to visit a couple of colleges during your spring break.
Most of all, make sure you are staying on top of your schoolwork and extracurricular activities.
Junior year classes, grades and activities are the most important. Strong grades will show a good trend, well thought out activities will showcase your outside interests, and if you apply for early admission, most schools will make their decisions based on the transcripts you provide before senior grades are available.
So, you can see, there is a lot to do spring semester of your junior year. If you need help getting organized, please contact me for your personalized plan based on your own needs and let me guide you and your family though the college admissions process.
If you contact me by Jan. 15 and mention this article, I will give you a 10 percent discount off of one of my packages.
Maryanne Hogan is an Independent College Admissions Consultant working with students on Maui. Visit her website, thecollegeauntie.com, for more information or to make an appointment.