Share This College-To-Do-List With Your Rising Junior
Once your student enters their Junior Year of High School, college applications season is just one short year away. That means that it is time for you and your student to get serious about applying to colleges and make sure that your student is ready to impress colleges in the falll.
As the parent, you ought to suggest that your student take certain measures and adopt certain strategies this year to make sure that they are poised for college application success. For a complete college to-do-list for you to give to your rising Junior, read on.
Start Forming Your College List
If you and your student haven’t started doing this already, you really need to start narrowing down what colleges your student is going to apply to. There are a number of factors that go into choosing which colleges to apply to, and luckily, we at CollegeVine have it down to a science. If you’re not sure where to start when forming a college list, check out these previous blog posts:
We at CollegeVine recognize that a lot of things can change for your teen before their Senior year, including their future college goals and career path. This is why we suggest that you start narrowing down the college list well in advance so that you have time to revise and edit the list a few times before college application season actually starts.
Plus, forming a college list a year in advance will force your student to do some introspection and start to figure out the tough questions like what kind of career they want to pursue and where they want to spend the next four years of their life. It may be good for you and your teen to talk through these things while they’re a Junior instead of the high-stress time of college applications.
Finish Your Standardized Testing
Junior year is prime time for any college-bound teen to take the SAT, ACT, and any other college entrance exams that may be required of them. After all, by Junior year, your student will have learned most of the material that will be tested on these exams, and they will have plenty of time to re-take the exams if they take it this year and don’t do so well.
On the other hand, if a student waits until their Senior year to take their standardized tests, they risk not having adequate time to prepare and only having a limited number of opportunities to take the exam before their college applications are due. These circumstances are not conducive to effective, stress-free studying or a pleasant test-taking experience.
Keep Your Grades Up
When colleges look at your GPA and high school transcript, they may not care as much that you got all A’s as they care that you had an upward grade trend. In other words, they want to see that your grades have improved over time as you’ve adjusted to high school and have gained more knowledge.
Thus, this year is crucial from an academic perspective as colleges are going to be scrutinizing your junior year grades more than any other year. This year, your grades need to be the highest they have ever been, so it’s really time to buckle down and focus on your studies.
Make Some Strides In Your Extracurriculars
By the time your student becomes a Junior, they ought to have been in some school organizations and activities long enough to have some influence or even a leadership position. They should use this new elevated status to do something meaningful for the organization. This can be a large fundraiser, an internal restructuring of the organization, or any other project that would make a lasting impact on the organization and look good on their college applications.
These extracurricular strides will help to set them apart from other students in the college application process and give them some great talking points for their college interviews and college essays.
If You Haven’t Already, Start Applying To Scholarships
Once you’re a junior, it’s not quite time to apply for need-based financial aid. That happens mostly during your senior year. However, you are free to start applying to merit-based scholarships and other grants as soon as you enter high school.
There are tons of merit-based scholarships that are open to high school juniors only, and the pool of applicants is usually smaller for those types of scholarships. Moreover, even if you come across scholarship that is only open to seniors during your scholarship search, you can save it to apply to later.
If you’re unsure how to start your scholarship and financial aid search, these previous blog posts will help:
This year is going to be the busiest one your student has ever had from an academic and extracurricular perspective. On top of that, your student’s head may be spinning from all the big decisions they’re going to have to make about college and their future next year.
With all that going on, you and your student should do a sanity check conversation every once in a while just to make sure that he or she is doing okay. You don’t even have to talk about college. You guys can talk about or do anything as long as it reassures and de-stresses your teen. Taking these small breaks can vastly increase your child’s mental health and decrease their stress levels during this busy, high-stakes time in his or her life.
For More Information
Want more resources for the parents of high school students? Here are some previous blog posts for you:
For second-semester Juniors, CollegeVine’s College Strategy Program provides focused guidance during this crucial time in the college application process. Your student will work with a dedicated consultant, who will provide helpful advice on things like the extracurricular profile, test-taking strategy, recommendations, and building a school list. They’ll create a clear picture of what needs to be accomplished and make sure that your student is poised to succeed during their Junior year and into the summer.