Plan For College

Thursday, August 15, 2013

High School Juniors: 5 Musts This September

If you're reading this article, you're on the right track (or maybe you're a parent of a high school junior which means you're ahead of the game). The college planning process is a daunting task. That's why today, we're only focusing on your next month and a few of the most important tasks. If you (or your son or daughter) can get these done in September, you'll be in a great spot for the upcoming school year. Here are five tasks to complete during September of your high school junior year:

1. Meet with your guidance counselor
This is number one on any college planning task list. However, if you ignore the other six on this list, make sure to get this done. You need to get to know your counselor, understand that you're on the right path for credits and classes, and get a first assessment of what types of schools you're looking for.

2. Register for the PSAT
Sign up for the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) and take it in October. It will give you an idea of your strengths and weaknesses and help you prepare for the SAT. You'll also be able to see how your scores compare to those of students admitted to the colleges you are considering. An extremely high score may qualify you for the National Merit Scholarship competition.

3. Continue/sign up for extracurricular activities
As we all know, college applicants compete on much more than grades and scores. Although it sounds cold, you need to find a way to round out your personality on an application. The best way to do that is with extra-curricular activities. Continue your activities if you enjoy them (four years of an activity shows commitment) and consider adding new extracurriculars.

4. Attend a college fair
Keep an eye out for a college fair coming to a city near you. These will give you a decent starting point for the process and get you some preliminary information on colleges that interest you. You may also learn about a few schools you've never heard of.

5. Pick SAT/ACT dates
Check for some SAT and/or ACT dates for the Fall or Spring. What dates can you make? Do you have a trip planned or spring activities that could conflict? If you can pick an SAT date in September, it will also keep you on track for studying and preparing.

Use this as your college prep checklist for September. If you end up doing more, you're way ahead of the game!

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