Paul the Apostle said, “Now is the acceptable time” (2 Cor. 6:2). It often feels like you’ll never get out of high school; like it will never be your time to be independent. Not too long ago, you were starting your high school years. Today, you are one day closer to graduation. That means one step closer to independence, and maybe college. If you’re planning to attend college, it’s time to work on that college prep checklist for junior year.
College Prep Checklist: Junior Year
1. Arrange a meeting with your guidance counselor in the first few weeks of school.
2. Plan your senior schedule with your guidance counselor to ensure you are following a college prep track in your courses.
3. Make sure you choose specific classes that will prepare you for college admission and degree completion.
4. Register for the PSAT, ACT, and SAT college entrance exams at least six weeks before the test dates.
5. Create a LinkedIn account to list your accomplishments, activities, and work experiences (Many colleges and employers now prefer LinkedIn over the traditional résumé so they can review projects, check social networks, etc.)
6. You need to sign up for extracurricular activities such as clubs, sports, student leadership, church youth groups, or community service. At Fredericksburg Christian, Upper School students may choose between the Art Club, the Care for Cancer Club, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Student Leadership Team, or the National Honor Society.
7. Take the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10. If you pass the test in your junior year, colleges will already consider you a strong potential applicant — which may open up some scholarship opportunities for you down the road.
8. Get ready for the ACT/SAT. You can find free test preparation materials at school, your local library, or community college.
Some additional things you can try.
In addition to your checklist, enhance your application with summer employment and volunteering opportunities on a college campus. Incidentally, registrars will see you as a more well-rounded applicant. Research colleges and universities and figure out which ones would best fit your personal goals. Make sure to request fliers, brochures, and navigate online sources. Visit a nearby campus — especially during spring break — to prove your commitment and to gain a three-dimensional view of college life.
Throughout the year, ask for various college applications and gather the required information to complete them. See which teachers, counselors, or employers would be willing to send a letter of recommendation to your potential colleges. Keep sending out applications until you receive at least one or two approval letters. Also, write your application essay before your junior year even begins!
Keep your mind open and learn about different career paths. Look up “free scholarships” in your internet browser to see which ones are relevant for you. Remember, some deadlines occur in the summer months between your junior and senior years, so get ready to submit applications now. When you register for Federal Student Aid (FSA), consider what financial benefits best suit your needs. Learn to avoid scams as you research financial aid for college. Beware of an offer that seems overly promising; it most likely includes some conditions that could ruin your financial future.
Time is of the essence.
Don’t hesitate! Don’t put off your college applications one more day! Before you know it, you will be sitting in a college classroom learning skills and knowledge that you will have for a lifetime. In the same way your first two years in high school passed in a flash, you will wonder where the time disappeared once you start college. Time is of the essence! Stay diligent, because only you can seize your future by the actions you take today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?! (Matt. 25:13).