Scoring well on standardized tests is one of the most important factors for getting into the schools of your choice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Take tests from previous years and think about taking SAT prep courses or hiring a tutor for the summer if you are a high school junior.
2. Apply for Scholarships.
There are many local and national scholarships out there for which you may qualify. Check out this list of 59 Scholarship Search engines where you may be able to find great scholarship opportunities.
3. Study for your AP tests.
If you are taking AP courses, study hard for your AP tests, which are right around the corner. There are many distractions for a high school junior this time a year, so it's important to focus and do well on these tests. Chances are you've been doing hours of homework each week and studying hard for your tests in your AP classes throughout the year. Take the time to properly prepare for these tests, which can save you thousands tuition in college. Most schools require a 3 or 4 out of 5 on the AP tests to get college credit. Check with the schools you are applying to see what scores they require. Then take practice tests from previous years and study with friends in your class.
4. Meet with your Guidance Counselor before the Summer.
After the May 1st deadline for seniors, guidance counselors will have more time to meet with you. Ask him/her what you should be doing during the summer to prepare yourself for senior year and for college. Ask if they know students from the colleges you're applying to that will be home for the summer. This is a good chance for you to talk to them about what school and life is really like at the college you're thinking about attending. See if the guidance counselors have any suggestions about local jobs and volunteer opportunities for the summer. Both can be good topics to write about in your college admissions essays.
5. Visit Colleges and Universities
The spring is a great time for visiting colleges you're thinking about attending. Try to get there soon (before mid May) so that you can see what the campus is like with the students. Keep in mind that the campus may be very different in the winter depending upon the climate. Ask students that go to the college what campus is like during the winter and fall.
Stay up-to-date on all the testing, scholarship, and financial aid deadlines with our College Planning Timeline.