Student News

October College Prep Checklist for High School Juniors

Evaluate what you can do this fall to get ahead on college admissions.

Shawna Newman

September 30, 2022

October College Prep Checklist for High School Juniors
You really need to be on top of your college-admissions planning as high school junior in 2021.
Now that your semester is well underway, you should be somewhat organized in your each of your classes. But are you on top of college admissions planning!? 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.

College Planning Checklist for High School Juniors

Here are some suggestions of what high school juniors can be doing throughout the month of October to get ready for college:

Focus on Your Grades

This is the last point in which your high school academics will significantly impact your GPA. Keep in mind that does not mean you can keep trying for the remainder of the semester and then taper off. A boost in your GPA will look impressive to admissions committees. Work hard to improve your grades over the course of the year.

Exercise Time Management Skills

At this point in the semester, you may still be finding your balance between your in-school and after-school life. You will need to utilize what you learn this year throughout your senior year as well as your college career and beyond. Remember, self-awareness and care, in addition to time management, are important life skills.

Attend College Fairs

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! There aremultiple ways a high school student can visit colleges right. Each type of visit has its pros, too. This year test out these types of visits to see what works best for you. Try visiting colleges that are further away virtually. Sign up for college visits from college admissions officers that are visiting your high school. Your junior year is the perfect time to see how the visit process works!

Take on Leadership Roles in Current Extracurriculars

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 extracurricular activitiesyou 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, and you need to communicate 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.

Build Your "Brag Sheet"

List all of your extracurricular activities, awards, student clubs, hobbies, job experience, etc. in a document, like a student resume. This will be perfect to distribute to individuals that you ask for recommendation letters as well as 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.

Keep Applying for Scholarships

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. 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.

Gain a Basic FAFSA Understanding

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.

Take the PSAT or PreACT

The PSAT and PreACT matter – 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 or PreACT is preparing for the SAT and ACT, too. While some colleges are test optional and/or test blind, you'll want to begin to understand the benefits of taking standardized tests. There are several good reasons to take these tests, especially if you're a great test taker. It’s important not to pass up this important opportunity to gain an inside perspective on what the SAT or ACT will be like, and most importantly, get feedback on your performance. Additionally, the PSAT can qualify you for National Merit and National Achievement Scholarships. That, alone, is worth the effort!

Gear Up for College Admissions this October

We want to help you prepare for college! Follow the above suggestions for a productive October. 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 online learning and student life.

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