Top Five Actions Juniors Can Take to Prepare for the College Admissions Process
Juniors, it’s a new year, and it is your year! By this time next year, you will have applied to colleges and will have heard, or will be waiting to hear, the outcomes as well as the options that will guide your choice of where you will spend the next four years!
Make really good grades. Turn inALL homework and work hard on projects. This is the last full semester of grades many of your colleges will see as they make decisions next year. Colleges want to see a rising trend in grades this year to show you are mature and ready for college.
Continue to prep and test for the SAT or ACT. Test scores are still an important piece of the puzzle for college admissions. Finalize your test plan now with three chosen dates. If you score well and only need two of those, lucky for you! If you aren’t a strong test taker, you may need to take it even more times. Don’t wait too late – try to get this done in your junior year.
Work this semester to impress your teachers and your counselor. You may need two to three teacher recommendations for your applications next year. Teachers will rank you on taking responsibility, showing curiosity to learn, displaying good character traits, contributing to class discussion, and more. You want your teachers to know you, like you, and to give you high rankings in these areas. This applies to your counselor as well, who will also complete an important form for you.
Tour and test drive at least the top three or four colleges on your list. The only way to know what you like and don’t like is by touring colleges. Think about what factors will make for the best fit for you and discuss them with your parents: would you succeed more at a small, medium, or large college, urban or suburban campus setting, liberal arts college or research university, in-state or out-of-state school? And there are the financial considerations. It is good for everyone to be on the same page as you target college visits.
Plan for a strong senior course schedule. Some colleges require you take specific high school courses to be considered for admission. Look at freshmen requirements at the most selective schools on your list to make sure you take what is needed. Also, most colleges will ask you to list your senior course schedule on your application. They are looking to see if you have challenged yourself and if you are curious to learn. Don’t slack here in your senior year.
Leigh Anne Spraetz is president of Academic Futures, Inc., and has been providing individualized college/career counseling and coaching for students and their families since 1998. She currently spends about 25% of her time touring and evaluating college campuses at an average of 40-60 per year. On the tours, Leigh Anne meets with admissions deans and staff, faculty, and students to learn about a college or university. Her specialized knowledge about majors, campus environment, and programs helps her determine a best “fit” for her clients. To learn more about her college counseling process, go to www.academicfutures.com or call today for a free 30-minute consult to learn about her services. 678-893-5314