Top 5 Tasks Juniors Need to Do Now

Founder and CEO, IvyWise, LLC

Are you a junior in high school? Check this college search to-do list to make sure you're on track.

1. Register for standardized tests ASAP

Most students wait until the summer after their junior year to study and cram for the SAT/ACT. As a result, once you get your scores in October, you only have one or two more opportunities to retake the exams to improve your scores. Give yourself more time to improve by taking the tests early in the spring semester. This way, you’ll have time to study over the summer.

2. Visit a college during your winter or spring break

Visiting a college campus will help you and your parents get a sense of your preferences and needs. Some students may plan a trip to visit Ivy League schools in the Northeast, while others may drive to a local campus. You do not need to wait for an open house to visit a campus. Visiting and talking to students while college is in session will help you get a true sense of what college life is like.

3. Plan to take SAT subject tests in May or June

Many schools require SAT Subject Tests for admission, and some colleges require you to submit scores from two SAT Subject Tests. You should plan to take an SAT Subject Test in a course you are currently doing well in. This way, the material is fresh and you’ll perform better on the exam. Avoid the stress of taking subject tests in the fall of your senior year. So, register now for the May 3 and June 7 SAT Subject Test date.

4. Identify teachers who can write your college recommendations

Asking a teacher for a recommendation two weeks before the application is due fall of your senior year is not a good idea. Once you’ve identified teachers that you think you could ask for a recommendation, start cultivating a strong relationship. Spend time talking with them about the work you are doing in and out of class. You can even talk to them about your college search. You might be surprised at how happy they are to hear about your future plans.

5. Set up an appointment with your guidance counselor

Your school will probably have a college day or financial aid night that you and your family should attend. You should also make an effort to speak to your guidance counselor sooner rather than later. The more your guidance counselor knows about your needs and wants, the better the advice he or she can give you in the next few months.

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