There are some very important things that you can be doing during your junior year to prepare for your future. Follow these steps to lead to success:
- Take the PSAT in October at your local high school. This not only allows you to practice for the SAT exam in the spring, but can qualify you for the National Merit Scholarship.
- Determine and outline your post-secondary plan. Decide whether you want to enter the workforce, pursue higher education or take the military route. This will help you focus on appropriate schools and courses.
- Collect information about schools of interest. Information to list includes: school size, location, cost, available majors, and special programs.
- Attend local college/career fairs to obtain information on a large number of schools in a short amount of time. Make sure to talk to admissions representatives at your top choice schools to get a feel for the information they will require when it is time to apply.
- Prepare for standardized tests to be taken in the spring. Start early so you have enough time to work on any weak areas. Make sure you know which tests are required and plan accordingly.
- Remain involved in extracurricular activities. Colleges and employers are looking for well-rounded students who exhibit leadership abilities. Extracurricular activities can provide both.
- Apply for scholarships! College or trade school is expensive but if you are willing to do the work, there are plenty of scholarships available to help pay down your costs. Apply for as many scholarships as possible to increase your chances of receiving funding.
- Register for and take standardized tests. Plan on taking your first test in the spring of your junior year, leaving time to take it again either later in the year or in the fall of your senior year. Most students take the test more than once so don't worry if you don't get the scores you wanted the first time.
- Collect letters of recommendation from several sources. You will most likely need them when applying for college or trade school. It's best to contact former teachers and counselors now so you aren't scrambling for letters in the fall.
- Apply for internships and jobs in fields of interest. This adds another dimension to your admissions applications that can be invaluable.
- Visit your top choices. Summer is a great time to visit the schools you've selected as your top choices. An on-campus visit can help a student narrow down their choices quicker than hours of research.
- Work on admissions essays. Give yourself enough time to write several drafts of your admissions essays to make sure you get it just right. The opening lines of your essay are the most important because they will either set you apart from the competition or make you blend in with everyone else. Don't blend.
- Look into financial aid deadlines to prepare for the upcoming school year. Don't miss out on earning grants and financial aid because you missed the application deadlines. Make sure you know what information you will need and start gathering it.