February Tasks for High School Juniors

Here's what you need to be working on this month as a college-bound student.

Shawna Newman

January 24, 2023

February Tasks for High School Juniors
Don't let the short month limit your progress!
February is the shortest month of the year and a busy month for United States students. Here’s a glimpse at the celebrations the second month of 2023 has to offer: Black History Month, Financial Aid Awareness Month, Groundhog Day (February 2), Super Bowl LVII (February 12), Valentine’s Day (February 14) and more... During all these important occasions, you need to continue your college prep throughout the second semester of your junior year. With just 28 days in February, it can be easy to get distracted with all the happenings. Stay on track with this list of eight tasks to complete in February:

  1. Find Out if Your Top Choice Colleges are Test Optional or Test Blind
  2. It’s important to know that many U.S. colleges are now test optional. This means you do not have to have an ACT or SAT score to apply for these colleges. According to FairTest, there are more than 1,700 test-optional colleges and more than 80 test-free institutions. Make a list of your top college choices and do some research. Find out which universities are test-optional, test-blind, and those that still need an ACT or SAT score for you to be considered.
    From this list, work with your high school counselor to create a standardized test plan. Ask yourself, “Do I need to test?” “Do I test well?” “Will I earn high enough score that will showcase me as a top-student candidate?”

  3. Create a Standardized Testing Plan
  4. If you choose to take a standardized test and have your scores submitted to colleges you choose, this could help you earn institutional scholarships or merit scholarships, depending on the outcome of your scores. Also, if you do exceptionally well on exams, it could prime you as a top-student choice for a particular university. Showing a shift in standardized testing methods, the essay and subject tests were removed from the SAT the summer of 2021 . The first SAT test date in 2023 begins March 11 with a February 10 registration deadline. You can register for and find other SAT exam dates here. The first 2023 ACT test is February 11. You can register for and find other ACT exam dates here.
    If you decide to move forward with standardized tests, taking the exams the spring semester of junior year is a smart idea. By taking them earlier for the first time, you’ll give yourself more options (and time) to study and retake to improve your score. Plus, you’ll have more confidence when you take your tests the second time around. If you wait until later to take them, that’s less time to focus and improve your score.

  5. Letters of Recommendation
  6. Now is the perfect time to talk to your teachers, coaches and any other significant adults in your life about letters of recommendation. As the school year winds down, they’re going to be swamped with these requests and you don’t want to become another student in their “to-do” pile.

  7. Plan College Visits
  8. Spring break is right around the corner, and it’s a great time to take advantage of your time off from school to visit any colleges you are interested in. Be sure you do a bit of prep work before your college visit or tour. Preparing a list of questions for your admissions tour guide will ensure you make the most of your college visit experiences!

  9. Narrow Down Your College Choices
  10. Through research, visiting colleges and speaking with prospective schools, you should begin to narrow down the list of schools you’d like to apply to as a senior. It’s time to look into your college choices and the aspects of each school you’d like to investigate further. Once you’ve determined the questions you have about each school, it’s time to find answers so you can start narrowing down your college list.

  11. Touch Base with Your Guidance Counselor
  12. From now until your high school graduation, it’s generally a good idea to touch base with your guidance counselor/college advisor at least once a semester (at minimum). You want to ensure you’re on the right track for graduation, that they’re in the loop with your college search, and that you’re doing everything properly to prepare for your exams and college process. They’re also experts in the college search, so they can often shed light on your college choices and help you better prepare for college admissions.

  13. Consider AP Courses
  14. If you’d like to plan on taking AP courses during your senior year of high school, you’ll need to talk to your guidance counselor, AP coordinator, and family. You’ll also want to discuss the available subjects and in which you would excel. Advanced placement courses have tons of advantages, like prepping you for your college coursework. Sometimes, you can even earn college credits before the start of your freshman year.

  15. Stick with the Scholarship Process
  16. Remain diligent in both searching and applying for scholarships. Winning scholarships - regardless of amount - will impact how affordable college is. Affordability is a big factor when making your final college decision or narrowing down your list. Scholarships and financial aid are how most students pay for college! Update your Fastweb profile each semester to get the best scholarship matches; be a through as you can. You can also find a list of scholarships for high school juniors. Apply for scholarships often; you won’t win them all but the more you apply for the better your odds at winning a scholarship.

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