Junior Year Checklist to Get Ready for College

By Huntington Learning Center

In the journey toward college, junior year is pivotal. This is when your teen should start buckling down and doing serious work to get ready: registering for college entrance exams, preparing for those exams, researching college options and much more. There’s plenty to do between now and next summer. Here’s a checklist to keep you and your teen on track:

  • Schedule a time to talk with the guidance counselor. This goes for both of you. The guidance counselor likely has a list of college to-dos and deadlines for the school year. Your teen should also discuss the best classes to take to stay on the right course for college.
  • Take your teen to college fairs. The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) College Fairs all around the country are a great option to learn more about different colleges and universities and their campus lives, majors and more. The NACAC website says each fair draws representatives from 175 to 400 colleges.
  • Start having more serious conversations about what your teen seeks in a college. Your teen should approach the college conversation with diligence and care. Discuss the aspects of college that might matter to your teen, including location, student body size, variety of majors and campus life.
  • Talk about the cost. Now is the time to begin researching college scholarships and financial aid. The U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website is a great resource, as are the websites of the colleges’ financial aid offices.

And here are several to-dos that are your teen’s responsibility

  • Sign up for the PSAT/NMSQT in October. Registration is handled through the guidance counselor. More information is available at www.collegeboard.com.
  • Discuss and sign up for any Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Your teen should talk with the school AP coordinator about upcoming dates for AP exams and which, if any, to take.
  • Visit the guidance counselor. This is the year when your teen must stay in good contact with the guidance counselor, who can keep share what is on the horizon for college and make sure your teen is doing everything needed.
  • Register for the SAT and/or ACT. Spring before senior year is a good time to take these exams for the first time, but your teen might even want to do so in the fall. Upcoming SAT 2019-2020 dates are October 5, November 2, December 7, March 14, May 2 and June 6. Upcoming ACT dates are October 26, December 14, February 8, April 4, June 13 and July 18, 2020.
  • Develop an SAT/ACT prep plan. Now that your teen is an upperclassman, it will take discipline to find time to study for the SAT/ACT. This must be a priority, though, so encourage your teen to call Huntington. We offer three levels of exam prep: premier, 32-hour and 14-hour programs.
  • Make a list of colleges of interest. Early junior year, your teen should make a list of colleges and start doing some research (some might even be at career fairs or high school campus visit days this school year). Then, your teen can narrow this list throughout the year before doing more intensive exploration the summer before senior year.
  • Keep a list of important milestones from high school. These poignant moments and turning points in your teen’s high school experience might come in handy when it’s time to start applying to colleges and working on the personal essay for those that require one.
  • Create a resume. Your teen will continue to add to the resume graduation nears, but it’s a good year to start putting one together in anticipation of applying to colleges.
  • Build good relationships with teachers, coaches or other mentors. Your teen should make letter of recommendation requests early senior year, if not sooner. Remind your teen that letters are best written by teachers and others who can confidently speak to your teen’s abilities, ethics, character and more. If your teen doesn’t have strong relationships with teachers yet, this is the year to cultivate them.

Want to help your teen navigate the college research process successfully? Need help getting your teen prepared for the SAT/ACT, SAT Subject or Advanced Placement exams? Call Huntington at 1-800 CAN LEARN to learn more about our learning and exam prep programs.