Student News

October Checklist for High School Juniors

You really need to be on top of your college-admissions planning as high school junior in 2020.

Shawna Newman

September 29, 2020

Evaluate what you can do this fall to keep your college-bound status.
October Checklist for High School Juniors
By now, the semester is underway (in-person classroom or virtually from your home) students, and you should be somewhat organized in your each of your classes. But, are you an organized 11th grade student in terms of college admissions planning!? The college admissions scene is a bit off right now—as colleges across the United States are working to adapt and reformat admissions processes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This means you really need to be on top of your college-admissions planning as high school junior in 2020. Looking for more COVID-19 student-impact information? Find it here. Now is the time to evaluate what you can do in October to continue your focus on the college planning process. It's time to begin prioritizing your college search, preparing for college admissions and thinking about your next steps. Here are some suggestions of what high school juniors can be doing throughout the month of October to get ready for college:
  1. Focus on Your Grades

  2. This is the last point in which your high school academics will significantly impact your grade point average. Keep in mind that does not mean you can keep trying for the remainder of the semester and then taper off. Your grades still matter in terms of college admissions; however, a nice GPA boost will improve your chances of admission into your top school choices.
  3. Exercise Time Management Skills

  4. At this point in the semester, you may still be figuring out virtual class or social distanced classroom routines—finding your balance. Finding a good life balance (student, life, personal) is an important life skill to finesse. you will need to utilize throughout your senior year as well as throughout your entire college career...and beyond. Remember, self-awareness and care are both important skills to hack—especially during a pandemic. Here are three ways another student from the Class of 2022 is managing quarantine life as a student.
  5. Attend Virtual College Fairs

  6. College representatives take the time to virtually visit schools and set up virtual college fairs for one reason: students like you. Take the time to learn more about the schools you already have an interest in and the schools you’ve never heard of. It’s better to learn your options now, rather than never learning them at all. You never know which college may be right for you! NACAC has two virtual fairs scheduled for students in October. Be sure you schedule your October virtual college visit!
  7. Take on Leadership Roles in Current Extracurriculars

  8. In terms of college applications, at this point in your high school career, it’s no longer beneficial to take on new extracurricular activities – unless, of course, you’ve developed an interest in one. It is beneficial, however, to take on leadership roles within the extracurriculars you are currently involved in. Discover how you can take your activities to the next level by becoming a leader: whether it’s team captain, a yearbook editor, the lead role in a school production or entering an art competition on your school’s behalf. There are so many opportunities – you just have to make it known that you’re ready to take on more responsibility. This holds true for activities outside of school as well. Volunteering, service work and community involvement are crucial to your college applications. Fastweb Student Contributor, Alondra Arevalo—also a high school junior—created this list of seven cool virtual volunteer opportunities you can participate in this year!
  9. Build Your "Brag Sheet"

  10. List all of your extracurricular activities, awards, student clubs, hobbies job experience, etc. in a document, like a student resume. This will help to give to teachers for recommendation letters and for you to include within your college applications. If you begin your brag sheet now, you'll be able to continually update it through your senior year of high school. Here's more on building yours and an example to help you get started.
  11. Keep Applying for Scholarships

  12. As always, it’s important to stay focused on your scholarship applications. College is coming and it's time to start saving. Extra scholarship money will certainly come in handy with those hefty tuition bills headed your way in a year or so! Our number one tip to help you with a successful scholarship search? Apply early and apply often. This means you should apply for as many scholarships as you qualify for. But, don’t get discouraged when you don’t win right away. Your scholarship search will be challenging at times, but it's crucial you don't give up. Scholarship winners will tell you: persistence is often the key to winning. You'll never win if you don't apply. Keep your scholarship search going throughout your high school and college careers to help you pay for college. Begin by organizing your scholarship search, then apply for as many scholarships as possible. Applying for scholarships your junior year will give you a nice head start.
  13. Gain a Basic FAFSA Understanding

  14. You don’t need to apply for your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form this year, but you will next year. Save yourself the learning curve and begin to understand what the FAFSA is and how financial aid can help you pay for college. Share your findings with your parents too, as they’ll be an important part to filing your FAFSA, next year—your senior year of high school.
  15. Take the PSAT

  16. The PSAT matters – perhaps more than you think. Believe it or not, the exam is practically identical to the SAT in both content and format. That means that preparing for the PSAT is preparing for the SAT, too. It’s important not to pass up this important opportunity to gain an inside perspective on what the SAT will be like and, most importantly, get feedback on your performance. *Remember: Big changes to standardized testing , including the PSAT, as COVID determines who can take the tests and where. many colleges have gone test optional due to the Coronavirus pandemic. In fact, according to the National Association for College Admissions (NACAC), more than 1,450 colleges are not requiring SAT/ACT test scores for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle. While high school juniors are not on this admissions cycle, this could be a glimpse into the future requirements for colleges in the U.S. * The PSAT can qualify you for National Merit and National Achievement Scholarships. That, alone, is worth the effort! We want to help you prepare for college! Follow the above suggestions for a productive October in your junior year of high school to remain on track in your college admissions process and college search. Look to Fastweb to help you throughout the rest of your high school and college careers. In addition to helping you search for scholarships you qualify for; we can help you stay on top of everything related to being a student, from FAFSA and financial aid to FAFSA and online learning and student life.

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