January College Prep Checklist for High School Juniors

Make major moves on your college search this month with this checklist.

Kathryn Knight Randolph

December 30, 2022

January College Prep Checklist for High School Juniors
It's a fresh start for your first semester!
January is the start of a New Year and a new semester. Which means, you have the unique advantage of a fresh start in more than one way! How cool is that?

College Planning Checklist for High School Juniors

Make sure you utilize this clean slate because it's not often that we're given such chances in life. Here's a preparing for college checklist to follow with suggestions of ways you can start off January on a great note.

Focus on Your Second Semester Classes

You may be sick of hearing this, but college applications are right around the corner. It is important to keep in mind that, no matter how your first semester went, second semester is a fresh start. Your junior year grades are pivotal to your college admissions, so keeping your focus now is, perhaps, more important than ever before.
If you underperformed, academically speaking up to now, here is your chance to really shine. Invest in your education by taking advantage of extra credit and tutoring opportunities. If your grades at the end of this semester are especially impressive, it will show admissions committees that you can do hard work to improve your academic performance. If your grades at the end of this semester are especially impressive, it will show admissions committees that you can do hard work to improve your academic performance. It's also something that you can showcase in college essays -- how you turned a poor or average GPA into something worth considering for your top choice college.

Register for February Standardized Tests, If Necessary

Whether you’re taking your standardized exams for the first time or retaking, it’s still a good idea to prepare so you can continually improve your score.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of standardized testing in some communities, many colleges are still foregoing test scores in their admission decisions. However, if you're a great test taker and score high, many colleges are still offering institutional scholarships that require SAT or ACT scores.

Participate in Your Courses

It’s important to stay active within class and participate in a manner that is impressive to your teachers so that when it’s time to ask for recommendation letters, you have plenty of options. Teachers don’t like to write recommendation letters for students they don’t know, aren’t familiar with or sleep through classes. In addition to teachers, you can reach out to school counselors, mentors, and coaches for recommendation letters. Just be sure that they know as you a student and an individual. Their perspective of you will shape how you appear to admissions committees.

Save Impressive Academic Work

Some colleges request examples of your academic work, such as impressive essays, artwork, or lab reports you’ve created. Save any work that you’re most proud of and that you’ve received the best grades. If you have not already, start saving your best work by creating a digital folder and brag sheet. This will you save time, and you'll know exactly where to find your best pieces.

Update Your Profile and Apply for Scholarships

Make it a habit to update your Fastweb profile at the beginning of each semester. Your GPA may have increased, you may have a new area of interest or change in circumstance. Having an up-to-date profile ensures you get the best scholarship matches AND you don't miss any scholarship opportunities. Continue to apply for scholarships -- start with this list of scholarships for the class of 2024. Submitting scholarship applications doesn’t take as long as you may think and has a huge pay off!

Get a Part-Time Job

Getting a part-time job is a great way to gain job experience for your resume and help stretch your student budget. A part-time job can also help you pay for school! Whether you work part-time on or near campus during the school year, or a seasonal job during breaks from school, you can utilize the money from your paychecks to help pay for college. Some companies offer employee scholarships and employer reimbursement, too.

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