College Advice for Juniors: Get Started Now!

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College Advice for Juniors: Get Started Now!

Happy New Year Juniors! Here’s some college advice for you to turn into a resolution you should keep. It’s this year, 2019, when you need to get serious about college planning, when you will submit the majority of your college applications, write your essays, fill out all the applications, and tend to all the tiny details that make up applying to college. Most importantly, this year is when you should spend time thinking about what the best college fit is for YOU!

You probably haven’t given much thought to going off to college…yet, let alone graduating high school. Sure, you may have taken a first round of the ACT and the SAT, and maybe you’re casually tossing around college names, but you probably figure you have a lot of time to get it doing. Am I right? Read on for our advice to make the process more enjoyable and less stressful.

Shortlist of what to do now
  • Continue to work hard at your grades. Your high school grades are the #1 factor in the college admission decision.* Following that it’s: strength of curriculum (challenge yourself appropriately with honors/AP, if available at your school), test scores, and essay/writing samples (if required).
  • Sign up for testing: ACT or SAT (colleges accept either so take a full-length practice exam and decide which test you perform better on) and AP tests. Need a test prep referral? Contact us.
  • Start thinking about your college list. Really. Don’t wait and cram this in, like a summer reading assignment, the week before senior year starts. Many students who come to us at the beginning of senior year have no clue as to what they want or don’t want in a college experience. Imagine their shock realizing the amount of catch-up they have to do to create a balanced college list and everything else–on top of senior fall semester academics! Too many end up applying to a random group of schools that may or may not be a good fit for them. Don’t let that be you!
  • Read about colleges you are interested in. Go directly to the college websites first, then read college guides like Fiske Guide or Princeton Review Best Colleges. Research student reviews on websites like Unigo or Niche, and take notice of what you like and don’t like. When a book or site suggests “similar” schools, check those out too.
  • Get out and visit. You don’t need to fly across the country to visit colleges. Check what’s around locally. See a small private school, a large public university, and other types of colleges near you. Even if you will not apply to those schools, you will still learn something by seeing what you like and don’t like about them.
  • Get excited! You’ve probably heard stress-stories and drama from your senior friends about the college application process. But the truth is…it’s actually a lot of fun! Think about it: you have a whole huge world of possibilities just around the corner for YOU!
Last Tidbit of Advice

Starting now means you can ease into the process, and have a lot more time to really reflect on what type of college is going to work best for you. This will not only make your college list better, but it will strengthen your applications because you will be able to very clearly tell the admissions office WHY their school is a great fit for you.

*Source: National Association for College Admission Counseling, State of College Admissions Report 2015. [This is most recent report published.]

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