Spring is in the air and that means it's the start of the college admissions process for many high school juniors. It's a busy time of year with Spring Break, holidays, and school events like prom. But before students reach the end of the school year there are a few things that they should do to stay on track. If students plan to apply to a four year traditional college or university during their senior year of high school, these are the five things they should do this spring:
- Register and take at least one ACT or SAT. There are a few hundred colleges that offer a test optional policy (check out fairtest.org), but most colleges will require the ACT or the SAT. Either one is okay. In fact, there are no preferences from a college's perspective so students should take the one that they think best suits them. By taking at least one ACT or SAT in the spring, students can leave the door open to take it again in the fall of senior year as most colleges will take your highest scores.
- Plan something meaningful for this summer. Summer plans can be a vehicle to do something you want to do or need to do. The summer between junior and senior year is the most important one of high school. Most students will be getting started on their college essays and applications; some might be preparing for another round of standardized tests. However, it's important to carve out time to do something beyond preparing for college. It can be a summer job, athletic training, writing, composing music, service work, or even caring for a family member. Make the most of the opportunity even if it seems rather simple. We learn the greatest lessons from the daily moments of our lives.
"Make the most of every opportunity even if it seems simple! #GetIntoCollege" TWEET THIS
Think about which teachers from junior year (or sophomore year if your high school allows it) you would like to ask for letters of recommendation. These letters should come from academic teachers - math, science, English, history, or foreign language. If you can ask them by the end of the school year, you will be ahead of the game!
Meet with your school or college counselor this spring. No matter how busy they are, touch base with them. They need to know who you are and what you want out of this process.
Visit at least one college this spring. Even if you are not able to travel due to financial or family reasons, check out a local university or college. Most admissions offices will offer a spring open house specifically for juniors. And, there's nothing more inspiring than stepping on a college campus wherever it is.
Juniors are just getting their feet wet when it comes to the college admissions process. Spring is the perfect time to get started. Juniors can follow these five simple steps and they will be well on their way to being college-bound.