October Checklist for High School Juniors

Now is the time to evaluate what you can do this month to continue your focus on the college planning process.

Elizabeth Hoyt

September 28, 2016

October Checklist for High School Juniors

By now, the semester is underway and you should be somewhat organized in your each of your classes.

However, you should always be thinking about what you can be doing to prep for college throughout your year! Now is the time to evaluate what you can do this month to continue your focus on the college planning process.

Here are some suggestions of what high school juniors can be doing throughout the month of October to get ready for college:

Focus on Your Grades

This is the last point in which your high school academics will significantly impact your grade point average. Keep in mind that does not mean you can keep trying for the remainder of the semester and then taper off. Your grades still matter in terms of college admissions; however, a nice GPA boost will definitely improve your chances of admission into your top school choices.

Exercise Time Management Skills

At this point in the semester, you have a pretty solid idea of what each class’s demands are. Now is the time to start practicing balance – a skill you will need to utilize throughout your senior year as well as throughout your entire college career.

Take the PSAT

The PSAT matters – perhaps more than you think. Believe it or not, the exam is practically identical to the SAT in both content and format. That means that preparing for the PSAT is preparing for the SAT, too.

It’s important not to pass up this important opportunity to gain an inside perspective on what the SAT will be like and, most importantly, get feedback on your performance.

Additionally, the PSAT can qualify you for National Merit and National Achievement Scholarships. That, alone, is worth the effort!

Attend College Fairs

College representatives take the time to visit schools and college fairs for one reason: students like you. Take the time to learn more about the schools you already have an interest in and the schools you’ve never heard of. It’s better to learn your options now, rather than never learning them at all. You never know which college may be right for you!

Visit as Many Colleges as Possible

You may have your heart set on leaving your hometown, but that does not mean it’s a waste of time visiting a local or state college anyway. Who knows? You may actually fall in love with the campus. Even if you don’t, many students apply to local schools as their safety options. It’s good to be familiar with every college campus you’ll be applying to – even if you don’t plan on attending.

Take on Leadership Roles in Current Extracurriculars

In terms of college applications, at this point in your high school career, it’s no longer beneficial to take on new extracurricular activities – unless, of course, you’ve developed an interest in one. It is beneficial, however, to take on leadership roles within the extracurriculars you are currently involved in.

Discover how you can take your activities to the next level by becoming a leader: whether it’s team captain, a yearbook editor, the lead role in a school production or entering an art competition on your school’s behalf. There are so many opportunities – you just have to make it known that you’re ready to take on more responsibility.

This holds true for activities outside of school as well. Volunteering, service work and community involvement are crucial to your college applications.

Get in the routine of contributing regularly, if you’re not already doing so.

For example, seasoned athletes can volunteer to coach children’s or inter-mural teams, while artists could volunteer to host classes at local senior centers or nursing homes.

Keep Applying for Scholarships

As always, it’s important to stay focused on your scholarship applications. College is coming and it’s time to start saving. Extra scholarship money will certainly come in handy with those hefty tuition bills headed your way in a year or so!

Apply for as many scholarships as you qualify for and don’t get discouraged when you don’t win right away. Scholarship winners will tell you: persistence is often the key to winning.

Follow the above suggestions for a productive October in your junior year of high school to remain on track in your college planning.

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