Make a Game PlanSetting up a game plan positions you for success. It also consists of a lot of the little details you may not want to be bothered with later. When you implement an organization plan, all of the little details will fall into place more easily. You can do this by creating a timeline for yourself including when to research schools, a timetable of application deadlines and create a schedule of times you can set aside to work on applications, essays and obtaining letters of recommendation.
Designate an Email AddressStart organizing your plan for communicating with colleges. Create an email address that’s simple and professional – which means that you should nix email@example.com and go for a more professional address. You will be able to utilize this address to sign up and receive information regarding potential schools and, once you’re within the college admissions process, to communicate and apply to colleges.
Create a ScheduleCreating a college admissions and application process schedule will help you keep track of the various tasks at hand and, if followed, stay on track. Make sure to include the following items within your schedule: • Time to work on your college applications
• Time to work on admissions essays
• Drafting emails and/or letters requesting letters of recommendation
• Researching colleges of interest to determine the list of schools in which you'd like to apply
• Visiting colleges of interest
• Family discussions regarding your college budget and options, so you’re all on the same page
• Create college files to keep all of your obtained information on hand
• Create personal files to keep all of your application information easily accessible
• Fill out a calendar with important events like college fairs, tours, open houses and test date deadlines so you won’t miss important informational events
• Create a month-to-month goal list of items you’d like to accomplish
Research Curriculum Options for Senior YearYou want to put yourself in the best position possible for your college applications and your senior schedule is an important factor. Start looking at courses your school offers now so that, when it comes time to create your senior year schedule, you aren't just picking random courses that aren't filled yet. Being strategic about the courses you choose can be extremely beneficial to your chances of admission at the college of your choice. Talk to your colleges of interest to see the type of curriculum they’re looking for seniors to take and implement those factors into next year’s schedule. Don’t only consider what looks good to colleges but, rather, what courses will be prepare you for the future. That’s the most important factor you should be considering in creating future schedules.
Begin Compiling Your ActivitiesStart reflecting on all of your activities thus far. It sounds easier than it is but, remember, you need to consider clubs you’re a member of, events you’ve participated in, positions you’ve held and any volunteer work you’ve done. It’s smart to evaluate this as early on as possible so that you can determine if you need to work on adding anything to your schedule to supplement your extracurricular activities if you don’t have a well-rounded list. If you’re not happy with your current list, don’t just sign up for every activity imaginable. Find a few that interest you and stick with the ones you like. Volunteering and community service is a great way to supplement your activities since there are so many options in terms of the type of work – there’s something for everyone!
Obtain Letters of RecommendationAsking someone for a letter of recommendation is a great idea and, the more time you allow, the less of an inconvenience it will be. Reflect on the people you’re thinking about asking – counselors, teachers, coaches – and talk to them about writing a letter of recommendation about you for your college applications. If you start gathering recommendation letters now and continue throughout your entire admissions process, you will likely end up with more letters than necessary (which is a great problem to have).
Be the Best Version of YouWhile it’s easy to get bogged down in the stresses of upcoming admissions, remember that the most important thing you can do is remain in the best academic shape possible - don’t let your studies suffer! Stay focused and motivated so that you can have the most successful junior year possible. The creation of schedules and lists, as mentioned above, is to set aside time for college admissions when you’re not working on current schoolwork. If you have the big picture split into obtainable, smaller tasks, it will be much easier to stay on track throughout the remainder of your high school career.
Keep Things in PerspectiveRemember, your junior year is a useful time to plan but there’s no need to panic. Life moves quickly, so you should enjoy high school while you’re in it. Don’t worry - you have more than enough time to plan the future while remaining focused on enjoying and doing well your junior year.
What do you think juniors should be most focused on right now?