Top Five Checklist for College-Bound Juniors: Staying Focused in February
Check out this top five checklist for college-bound juniors and how staying focused in February can go a long way in the admissions process.
By Dr. Kat Cohen
March 13, 2009
It’s all too easy for juniors to hit a lazy streak in February—finals are long over, the winter holidays are but a distant memory, and spring break is just around the corner. February feels like limbo, the month juniors need to get past in order to reach their senior year. Little do they know how stressful senior year can be. Juniors may be dreaming of heading out those high school doors and straight into the hallowed halls of their dream university, but dreaming is only just the beginning.
Now is the time for juniors to begin practicing good college-application habits and, if nothing else, create a schedule that will allow them to actually enjoy their senior year. Dr. Kat Cohen’s 5 simple tips will help keep them busy this February and prepare them for senior year’s college application circus.
- Register for standardized tests now!
Most students wait until the summer before senior year to study (read: cram) for the SAT/ACT. Once they get their scores, though, they only have one or two more opportunities to re-take and improve their score. Instead, students should take the tests early in the junior spring semester, allowing for time over the summer to study further and increase their score. Taking the test a few times can’t hurt – especially considering the SAT’s newly instated score choice option.
- Register for SAT II subject tests
Many colleges require SAT subject tests. Juniors should take an SAT II tests in a subject that they are currently studying, thus ensuring that the material is fresh. Waiting until next fall will just cause unnecessary stress and hours of extra study time. Seniors have enough to worry about without the added pressure of yet another standardized test.
- Take advantage of your spring break to visit colleges
Visiting college campuses helps students (and their parents) get a sense of what important to them about a school. And spring break of junior year is an especially great time to drop in on a university; it’s one of the few opportunities students will have to observe campus life while school is still in session (unlike with the winter holidays, there is no standard week for spring break).
- Identify teachers for next year’s college recommendations
Asking a teacher for a recommendation two weeks before the application due date is just poor planning (and one way to secure a lackluster letter). By identifying teacher you might want a recommendation from, you can focus on not just getting an A in the class, but on becoming more of presence in the classroom. Once you’ve identified teachers that you are interested in getting a recommendation from, feel free to talk to them about your college search. You might be surprised at how excited they are to hear about your future plans.
- Set up an appointment with your guidance counselor
The sooner a student speaks to his or her guidance counselor, the soon that student can plan for next year! Plus, the more a guidance counselor knows about a student’s needs and wants, the better college and financial aid advice he or she can give throughout the next year.
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