Student News

May Checklist for High School Juniors: COVID-Adapted

Rising seniors, here's an adapted plan you can focus on in May.

Shawna Newman

April 30, 2020

May Checklist for High School Juniors: COVID-Adapted
Can you believe it? You're almost a high school SENIOR: rulers of the school, the Class of 2021...Your senior year is just within your grasp. But, before you begin to celebrate, you still have plenty to do before you cross the high school finish line. As the school year ends – yes even the virtual classroom – you should tie up loose ends (we'll explain below). Additionally, prepare for your summer in terms of jobs, volunteer activities, and college prep. Make this summer count! Looking for more COVID-19 student-impact information? Find it here. Rising senior stars, here's what you should try to accomplish during the month of May: 1.) Say Hello to Your Teachers So, interactions have lacked the in-person communication we're familiar with this last quarter. To overcome this, we suggest considering your relationships with your teachers this year, and past years. Are there any you're particularly close with? Maybe you were challenged at the beginning of the school year, and shattered their expectations before you left for winter break? If so, reach out to these teachers. Check in. Say hello. Ask them how they're holding up. We'd be willing to bet your teachers would appreciate an email from you. Teachers are social creatures-they really miss interacting with their students! College applications often require or strongly recommend recommendation letters. Now would be a great time to email your teachers (hopefully you can follow up with an in-person discussion in August or September). Come college application season, they will be overwhelmed with requests. They'll appreciate you planning ahead (And, likely remember your efforts-adding value to your recommendation letters). 2.) Consider Advanced Placement Courses Just as your teachers are missing social interaction, so are your high school counselors. Send an email their way asking about AP courses that may be offered next year. Ask them what courses they feel you'd qualify for your senior year. You should also use some of your time to investigate free AP prep courses from popular and free online learning sites like EdX. Many of these courses are offered from the best world-known colleges and universities. Bonus: You can add any course completion/certifications to build your college resume or to enhance your scholarship essays! 3.) Start Your Scholarship Search Search and apply for scholarships on your down time – now and over the summer. The more time you give yourself to put in the effort to search for and apply for scholarships, the better your odds are of winning one. Our best advice? Apply early and apply often! Also, pick a day of the week you'll apply for one or two scholarships. Get it on your calendar and commit. Oftentimes the best way to get something done is to make it habit. 4.) Practice Standardized Testing If you have not done so already, make sure to schedule (set this task "in stone" by getting it on your calendar) standardized test prep courses over the summer. It's not too early to begin studying for the ACT or SAT test. Khan Academy offers FREE test prep and practice exams with interactive videos, and tons of tips you could use to be a better test taker. 5.) Build Your College Resume Build your resume by signing up for summer volunteer programs, a summer job or extracurricular activities you enjoy. Keep in mind, you should always be building network connections. Say you're interested in veterinary school in the future. Volunteer at your local animal shelter and network with your boss. He/she will remember your efforts and could possibly craft an excellent recommendation letter on your behalf! This will be quite a bonus on your college applications, too. 6.) Explore College Campuses Virtually Check sites like You Visit, Campus Tours or eCampusTours to see if your college has created a virtual tour. Be sure to set time aside to have your parents join your virtual visits this summer. And, since you don't have to travel you can fit in quite a few visits. Helpful Tip: Purchase a notebook for your visits. Take notes on the things you liked, didn't like and questions you'd have for the college admissions team. Once campuses open up, you'll be prepared to ask the right questions at your in-person campus tour. 7.) Establish a Summer Savings Account Set up a summer savings plan, which allows you to start saving for college now! The earlier you get started on saving, the better financial state you’ll be in when you begin college. 8.) Research Colleges Start thinking about what you want out of a college in terms of academics, social (like Greek life, clubs and organizations) and campus lifestyle. Create a list of all of the factors you’re looking for – detailing negotiable and non-negotiable factors. Begin researching institutions that fit the criteria on the lists you made. From there, you can begin to decide which colleges you’d like to visit and learn more about. 9.) Attend a Virtual College Fair Attending college fairs is a great way to weed out colleges before you’re able to visit. However, there's only one big problem: the COVID-19 pandemic. Don't fret, there are virtual college fair platforms out there. Visit College Fairs to check their on-going list of college participating in 2020 virtual fairs. If you find a college you're interested be sure to sign up for the virtual conference and college fair. StriveScan is another great college exploration tool that's free for students. Their virtual presentations and tours are geared for high school juniors too. Their next event is May 8, 2020. Make sure you prepare for the fair before you attend so that you can maximize your experience. Chat with the admissions team asking questions you may have, ask to email a student ambassador (typically these are student, admission-team representatives) who attend the school and get a feel for what the school is like. 10.) Practice College Applications & Essay Writing You can begin practicing filling out college applications and creating outlines and college essay rough drafts – even if it’s just for practice. This will make the entire college application process much smoother once fall comes!

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