You’re about to head back to school – as an upperclassman! It’s an exciting time, and the more organized you are in your studies and the college preparation
process, the more you’ll be able to enjoy every moment with your friends.
Here’s a checklist for the month of August to help you as you go back to school
, ahead of the class in the college search and planning processes:
August College Prep Checklist for High School Juniors:
- Begin a study routine for the ACT or SAT
You can do so in a variety of ways including taking practice exams, test prep courses, utilizing free online resources, or even practicing questions on study apps.
You may consider using Khan Academy or CollegeBoard to practice and prepare for your next SAT or The Princeton Review for the ACT, which all offer short boot camps to boost your test-taking confidence.
- Consider taking the ACT or SAT as a junior
The Coronavirus pandemic made the testing world different and some would argue a bit more confusing. While most colleges before 2020 required standardized test scores, some have adopted a test-optional stance in the recent months.
U.S. News and World Report states that, “Due to the academic upheaval provoked by the novel coronavirus, an unprecedented number of universities have abandoned their testing requirements.” Some of these college have even eliminated the need for these tests indefinitely.
Juniors and high school counselors should be aware of any standardized-testing changes and the possibility of lasting modifications. These changes could shape how often you take practice exams this year too!
It doesn’t hurt to take the SAT or ACT as a junior if you do plan to take standardized tests. In fact, it’s a good strategy. You’ll be able to gauge how well you do on the tests, while still leaving plenty of room for yourself to improve before your senior year.
- Think about taking AP classes this coming semester
AP classes can look great on your college applications – as long as you feel you can handle them. Talk to your teachers and counselors to see if an AP course might be a good route for you.
These classes are academically challenging, but don't let that deter you. They are actually great preparation for college level coursework, working double duty to prepare you and potentially provide you with some college credit if you get the right score on the AP tests in May.
- Keep applying for scholarships!
As always, apply for as many scholarships as you qualify. It’s a process that often feels pointless because you don’t see the fruits of your labor for a while, but it is absolutely worthwhile once you get help paying for school. Start by applying for scholarships for high school juniors from this list of Scholarships for the Class of 2023.
- Find virtual college fairs and put them on your calendar.
In-person college fairs may or may not be happening this fall, but either way, it’s easier for juniors in high school to attend virtual college fairs.
Sure, it’s not a “real” visit, but you will learn a lot of information about the college that you likely would not have otherwise – and you may even be exposed to schools that you would not have looked at on your own. StriveScan is another great college exploration tool that's free for students.
These events are worthwhile to attend and the good news is that they are easy to find. Look up some fairs near you – they could open worlds of possibilities!
- Research potential colleges using TikTok and YouTube.
As you research, keep notes of what you like or dislike about each school. It will help you target what you’re looking for in a college. Once you have a solid list of schools you’re interested in, search for the admissions criteria as well as financial information to see if the school seems like a realistic fit for you (or if you have to buckle down and apply for scholarships, financial aid and get a second job).
Search colleges that have made your list on TikTok and YouTube. Many students talk candidly about student life and their experiences on campus. You can get a genuine student perspective of campus life this way! This may be the only case where you can say you’re using TikTok for college research.