While the majority of the college admission world is focused on seniors right now, and understandably so, we don’t want juniors to feel that we forgot about them. There are important items on their to-do list right now as well. Below are 5 things juniors can be doing now to get a head start on the college application and admission process.
This HAS to be #1. It’s the most important thing juniors can do right now to help their chances for college admission. Colleges report high school grades as the most important factor in the admission process. So if you’re looking for a way to increase your admission chances, start here.
In this recent blog post, we outlined how it’s important to have both quality and quantity of high school activities in which to highlight in your application or on a resume. We like to see students have at least one activity in each of the following areas: school activity (club, sport, etc), community service and employment. So if you are missing something in one of these areas, now is a great time to start.
3. Testing Practice and Timeline
While we don’t typically advise junior students to take college admission tests (ACT, SAT or Subject Tests) before January, it’s a great time now to develop a plan. Most high schools offer the PSAT in the fall of junior year. Now is also a good time to take a practice ACT (either online or through a test prep organization). That way, you have time to get the results of both tests back in your hands, compare the two and begin studying before signing up for official tests in the winter or spring. (more here)
In addition to having a good balance of activities on your resume, colleges love to see leadership experience. Now is a great time to volunteer to run a club or even start a new club. You could also offer to help a teacher by being a Teaching Assistant. Think of creative ways you can demonstrate to colleges that you are a natural and skilled leader. (read more about why colleges love leadership here)
5. Big Picture College List
It’s a bit early to be thinking about specific colleges. A lot can change between now and fall of senior year when you actually apply. However, one thing juniors can do is start thinking about the qualities of their ideal college, ie size, location, majors, etc. Juniors can visit different types of colleges in an effort to gain a better perspective about what they are looking for. By visiting a large college, a small college, a college in a city, a rural college, etc. it can help the process of developing a college list move along more quickly in the spring.
The fall of junior year is a great time for families to sign up with Campus Bound. We can help students with these 5 tasks and much more, and break the process down into manageable steps. Getting a head start on the college admission process can certainly make the rest of junior year and the fall of senior year much less stressful.