You’re about to head back to school – as an upperclassman! It’s an exciting time and, the more organized you are in your studies and the college preparation process, the more you’ll be able to enjoy every moment with your friends.
Here’s a checklist for the month of August to help you head back to school ahead of the class in the college search and planning processes:
• Begin a study routine for the ACT or SAT
You can do so in a variety of ways including taking practice exams, test prep courses, utilizing free online resources or even practicing questions on study apps.
• Think about taking the ACT or SAT as a junior
If you take standardized exams as a junior, you’ll gave plenty of time to study and prepare in the event you’d like to have the option to retake.
This is always a good fallback plan – not only if you’re unhappy with your score, but if you’d like to retake because you’re definitely calmer and more confident the second time around!
• Consider taking AP classes this coming semester
AP classes can look great on your college applications – as long as you feel you can handle them. Talk to your teachers and counselors to see if an AP course might be a good route for you.
• Keep applying for scholarships
As always, applying for as many scholarships as you qualify for. It’s a process that often feels pointless because you don’t see the fruits of your labor for a while, but it is absolutely
worthwhile once you get help paying for school.
• Look up local college fairs and put them on your calendar
College fairs are a great way to cram multiple mini-college visits into a short span of time. Sure, it’s not a “real” visit, but you will learn a lot of information about the college that you likely would not have otherwise – and you may even be exposed to schools that you would not have looked at on your own.
These events are definitely worthwhile to attend and the good news is that they are easy to find. Look up some fairs near you – they could open up worlds of possibilities!
• Research potential colleges
As you research, keep notes of what you like or dislike about particular schools. It will help you target what you’re looking for in a college.
Once you have a solid list of schools you’re interested in, look into the admissions criteria as well as financial information to see if the school seems like a realistic fit for you (or if you have to buckle down and apply for scholarships, financial aid and get a second job).
From there, you can think about planning campus visits to locations that are nearby or, even farther away if possible, so that you can truly get a feel for what that college is like. When planning a campus visit, be sure to make the most of it by scheduling a tour, staying overnight and visiting while school is in session to see campus in action.