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February Tasks for High School Juniors

Don't let the short month limit your progress!

Shawna Newman

January 26, 2021

Here's what you need to be working on this month as a college-bound student.
February Tasks for High School Juniors
February is the shortest month of the year and a busy month for United States students. And, this year doesn't include an extra 24 hours via a Leap Day. Here’s a glimpse at the celebrations the second month of 2021 has to offer: Black History Month, Financial Aid Awareness Month, Groundhog Day (February 2), Super Bowl LV (February 7), Valentine’s Day (February 14) and more... During all of 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 an ACT or SAT score to apply for these colleges. If a college has announced its admission process and criteria--It's not a trick. Some colleges may be test-blind for the 2021-2022 admissions season. Meaning a particular college will not look at your standardized test scores, even if you choose to send the results to said college. According to CollegeVine, “Very few schools are test-blind, but one notable one is Caltech, which is test-blind for 2020-2022 (two admissions cycles).” 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 test well?” “Will I earn high a high school that will showcase me as a top-student candidate?” Carefully work on a plan of action from here.

  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 action could help you earn institutional 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.
    SAT testing begins in March, but will not include SAT subject tests . You can register for and find other SAT exam dates here. The first 2021 ACT test is February 6. You can register for and find other ACT exam dates here. If you do 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. If you wait until later to take them, that’s less time to focus, improve your score – plus, you’ll reenter the exams with confidence because you’ve already experienced them, removing part of the exam anxiety factor. You’re always going to be a little anxious about exams, and understandably so. But, with experience, these nerves can be calmed.

  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 Virtual 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 virtually visit any potential colleges. Here are some useful tips, including questions to ask, to help you make the most out of your remote college visit .

  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 (that’s the 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, of course, your family about the option. You’ll also want to discuss the available subjects, so you can plan to take your AP exams as soon as possible. Advanced placement courses have tons of advantages, like prepping you for your college, career and, sometimes, earn you college credits before you start 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, and once you’re applying to colleges, may change whether or not you can afford to attend certain schools. Check out this list of scholarships designed for you, the Class of 2022.

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