July Checklist for Upcoming High School Juniors

Six college-bound tasks for high school juniors to consider this July.

Shawna Newman

June 27, 2024

July Checklist for Upcoming High School Juniors
Class of 2026: Here's what you need to do in July.
Congratulations, you're about to be an upperclassman! Soon, you'll start investigating colleges, take your standardized exams, and ask for recommendation letters from your teachers. It's more important, now than ever, to remember that the more organized you are in your studies and the college admissions process, the more you'll be able to enjoy every moment as an upperclassman in high school.

July Checklist for the Upcoming High School Juniors: Class of 2026

Here's a checklist for the month of July for soon-to-be high school juniors. This will help you prepare for the upcoming year, in terms of your college search and planning processes:

Research standardized tests: think about taking the ACT or SAT this year.

It's important to consider taking standardized tests as a junior because the earlier you take them, the more chances you'll have to study more and retake, if necessary. Look at the colleges you're interested in and see if they prefer one test over the other. Another standardized test strategy that some students embrace is to take both tests during their junior year. Typically, you perform better on one over the other. Once you know which test shows off the best of your abilities, you can focus your energy and time into studying for that exam and retaking to increase your scores. Once you've decided on your exam, you can begin to prepare by signing up and participating in practice exams, test prep courses, utilizing free online resources, or even practicing questions on study apps.

Consider signing up for AP classes or dual credit courses this coming semester.

If you're able to handle them, Advanced Placement (AP) courses look great on your college applications and student transcript. This year, consider meeting with your school counselor and teachers to discuss whether taking advanced courses or enrolling in a dual credit class would be a good idea for you. Some high schools have a plethora of advanced class options while others are very limited. Don't fill your class schedule with AP courses or dual credit classes just because you feel that it will look better. Take advanced classes in those subject areas that you already excel in.

Apply for scholarships.

Summer is a great time to apply for scholarships as fewer students submit scholarship applications during the summer months. This can help boost your chances of winning scholarships with summertime deadlines!! Commit to applying for one to two scholarships per week. Also be on the lookout for major-specific and scholarship lists for high school juniors.

Plan to attend college fairs.

You'll soon learn that attending college fairs is efficient in a multitude of ways: you're basically able to cram several mini-college visits into a short span of time. At these fairs, you learn a lot of information about the college and whether it should be on your list of considerations. Additionally, you may even be exposed to new schools that you would not have looked at on your own! Each college fair booth is manned by an admission officer, so you can get a first-hand experience of each college that goes above and beyond what a college website could offer. College fairs are worthwhile for students embarking upon the college process. Look up some local fairs near you. They will likely start in the fall, but you can start registering and adding college fair dates to your calendar now.

Start researching colleges of interest.

You're still early into the college process, but it's never too early to begin looking into colleges that interest you. As you research schools, try to take note of what types of aspects you like or dislike in a particular school. Doing so will help you target what is most important to you in a college. Now is the time to check out websites, take virtual tours, and get on mailing lists. Indicating your interest now will also look good when your college application is submitted. Admissions officers may recognize your name from emails, college fairs, or face-to-face visits. They'll know you've been interested in their school for some time, which could be just one more reason to admit you when the time comes.

Talk with your parents now about who is paying for college.

Many families hold off on the financial aid talk until senior year, when applications are being submitted or when financial aid packages begin to arrive. That timing is too late. Having the conversation around who is paying for college now will set clear boundaries and expectations for later. It also gives students and their parents time to save if necessary. Additionally, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, will be looking at finances from this school year. With that in mind, there are ways to maximize financial aid eligibility, which could result in more money to help you pay for school.

You Might Also Like

Shawna Newman

Managing Editor, Contributing Writer

Shawna Newman is the Managing Editor and a writer at Fastweb. She has over 10 years of experience in higher education. Her direct work with college admissions teams, financial aid officers, college deans, ...

Join Fastweb.
Match Instantly.

Become a member and gain exclusive access to our database of over 1.5 million scholarships.

I am a:
Parents: Complete the questions using your child's information
Please select a grade level
Please enter a valid zip code.

By clicking, I agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.