Junior Year: How to Prepare for College

By Huntington Learning Center

College planning picks up significantly during junior year of high school. From taking standardized tests to beginning to research colleges, there is plenty to do and keep track of. This checklist will keep your student focused on the essentials and remind you of what’s most important:  

  • Meet with the guidance counselor. The guidance counselor has probably reached out to your student already this school year, but if not, make sure your teen schedules a meeting. The guidance counseling office is your student’s best resource for college to-dos and deadlines.  
  • Register for the PSAT/NMSQT in October. Registration is handled usually through the school. Your student might have taken the PSAT already, but it’s a good opportunity to practice for the SAT. If your student does well, they could qualify for National Merit Scholarship Program scholarships.  
  • Develop an SAT/ACT prep plan and register. Junior year is the best time to take these exams. Enrolling your student in a Huntington test prep program now can ensure your student has enough time to prep before the upcoming exams. 2022 has two remaining SAT dates: November 5 and December 3, and two remaining ACT dates: October 22 and December 10.
  • Plan ahead for Advanced Placement (AP) exams. If your student is taking AP classes, they will also take AP exams in May 2023. Your student should consider starting their test prep program now and taking the SAT/ACT in the fall or winter to avoid conflict with their spring AP exam(s) schedule.    
  • Take your teen to college fairs. Fall is a good time to attend any college fairs, like the ones offered by the National Association for College Admission Counseling. This is a good place to start if your student hasn’t given much thought to selecting a college yet. Attending college fairs will expose them to different colleges and universities and their campuses, majors and more. Then, your student can begin making a list to research throughout the year (and perhaps plan to visit in spring or summer 2023). 
  • Start creating a resume. Now is a good time to make a list of accomplishments and activities for the college resume. If your teen could use some activities to strengthen this list, they still have time to get involved. Encourage them to start volunteering outside the classroom or get involved in a new club or organization. 
  • Talk about what your student has in mind for majors. Even if your student hasn’t expressed interest in a particular field of study yet, you can talk about subjects they like and excel at, the type of learning environment your student is seeking (e.g., small classes, a liberal arts education or STEM options). You can also discuss college traits, such as a smaller or larger student body, a city or suburban setting, variety of majors and campus life. 
  • Discuss cost, scholarships, and financial aid. It can’t hurt to start researching college scholarships and financial aid now. A good place to start is on the financial aid web pages of the colleges that interest your student. 
  • Establish relationships with teachers and other mentors. In the coming year, your student might need to request letters of recommendation. These letters are best written by teachers and others who can speak to your student’s character, diligence, academic abilities and more. So, if your student tends to keep to themselves in the classroom, it’s time to break out of their shell a little this year to build at least a couple of good relationships. These will only benefit your student and become important when the time comes to request a recommendation.  

Junior year is arguably the most important year of high school. Not only is it the year that your student will be preparing for and taking the SAT/ACT, but it’s also a chance to improve their grades and raise their GPA before senior year. Encourage your student to work hard and take the year seriously. If your student is struggling with a specific subject, call Huntington at 1-800 CAN LEARN!  Our subject-specific tutoring can give your student the boost they need to gain a better understanding of the material and improve their skills and grades. 

Your student needs to make the most of this junior year, and Huntington can help! Our individualized test prep and tutoring programs will help your student make it a great year as they prepare for the college journey.