10 College Planning Tips For High School Juniors

10 College Planning Tips For High School Juniors

Going to college can seem overwhelming at first. Maybe you haven’t even thought about it. You may be wondering where to begin and what to do. As a high school junior, it is time to start some college planning to make the college admission process as stress free as possible. Here are 10 college planning tips to help you get a head start as a prospective college applicant. 1. Continue to work hard in all of your classes in order to make the best grades you can. Challenge yourself with a few honors or AP courses. Colleges will want to see a sustained effort in your grades from now until your high school graduation. Your GPA is very important for college admissions. 2. Look for continued involvement in school and community activities and be willing to take on leadership responsibilities. Colleges prefer to see a shorter list of activities with more commitment on your part than a longer list where you are only a member or participant. 3. Register to take both the SAT and ACT sometime the spring of your junior year. Seriously consider taking a test prep course or getting some individual tutoring to prepare for the tests. After you have taken the tests, you may feel that one is more suited for your learning style. Colleges will accept either the SAT or ACT. Taking the test two or three times is usually a good idea. Colleges are interested in your highest score. 4. Attend any college fairs or programs in your community to find out about colleges that may interest you. Talk to college representatives and find out what makes their schools different from each other. Many college representations offer a chance for you to meet and interview with them. You should definitely take advantage of this opportunity. 5. Think about working with a college consultant who can help you with a personalized college search and provide assistance with the college application process. They are experts in college admissions and can help make you a stronger college applicant. Their services are affordable and worthwhile. A good place to find qualified consultants in your state is the HECA website. 6. Meet with your high school counselor to discuss graduation credits, senior classes, researching scholarships, and where you are in your college planning. You high school counselor is an important part of the college admission process. 7. Take advantage of a vacation to take a look at some different colleges where you are visiting. Even if you only have time to drive by, it will give you an idea as to location and size when comparing this school to another. Contact some colleges that are an hour or two from your home and take a tour and participate in an information session. 8. Begin your college search with a preliminary list of schools that may interest you and visit their websites. Request information from the schools so that you will be on their mailing list and receive emails of interest from them. Talk with teachers, older brothers or sisters, and counselors about these schools. 9. Consider which teachers know you well and could write a good college recommendation for you. Most colleges want a teacher to give them an idea of how you compare to other students in their classes in terms of motivation, intellectual curiosity, diligence, etc. Many colleges request two teacher recommendations and usually one from your counselor. 10. Research summer jobs or experiences that offer you an opportunity to do something different. Think about volunteering in an organization that interests you. Colleges are looking for students who will contribute to campus life at their school. What unique contributions can you bring to them?Students who begin their college planning early have time to gather the information they need to make the best decisions. College is a big investment for your family and making good choices will help you find the colleges that are the best fit for you.

Would you like to know how you can help your student become a stronger college applicant? Go to http://www. collegedirection. org and send me your email address. You will receive the College Direction monthly newsletter which is packed full of useful suggestions. Susie Watts is an educational consultant who assists students with their college search, applications and essays, and good college advice.

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