Junior Year

Going to college improves earning potential and career satisfaction. To find the most appropriate schools and the best sources of financial aid, keep the following in mind.

SAT & ACT Testing

Complete the necessary requirements to take or retake the SAT or ACT tests. Take practice tests again before going to the exams to become familiar with the format of the questions.

Evaluate College Choices

Research academics and dorm life. Be prepared to identify what is important to you--a specific degree, a big city or small-town campus, a college that's close to home or one that’s far away, an atmosphere that's culturally diverse, a school with special recognition, etc.

Apply For Scholarships

College can be very expensive, and most students will need financial assistance to afford it. The more information one has about sources of college funding, the easier it may be to attend ones college of choice. Finding out how and where to search for grants, student loans, and scholarships can be extremely time consuming, and often ends with frustration. However, it doesn't have to be. Visit Scholarships.com to conduct a free college scholarship search, and take advantage of the financial aid information available to you at no charge. Begin early, and keep in mind that many scholarship and grant deadlines occur during the early part of a student’s senior year.

September/October

Discuss and review your coursework for the upcoming year. Ask your counselor to review your choices and to make sure that they will contribute to your college requirements. Register for the October PSAT. The PSAT qualifies students for the National Merit Scholarship Competition. With a high PSAT and SAT score, good grades, and a recommendation from high school, one may become a National Merit Scholarship Finalist. Finalists qualify not only for academic distinction, but also for scholarships.

November/December

Begin financial aid research by exploring grants, scholarships and work-study programs with college financial aid offices and with a high school counselor. Do research via the Internet.

Review PSAT test results with a guidance counselor. Consult with your guidance counselor about taking the ACT, SAT, or the SAT Subject Tests. Determine which tests are required at your colleges of interest.

Remember to obtain a social security number. If you do not have one, visit the closest Social Security office.

January/February

Prepare a preliminary list of colleges to investigate and possibly attend. Visit with a guidance counselor to discuss your list.

Write to the colleges on the list and ask for catalogues, community activity information, admissions literature and special financial aid options.

Register for the March SAT. Purchase an SAT prep guidebook and consider a prep course.

March/April

Check the SAT I, SAT Subject Test, and ACT test dates.

Begin to narrow list of colleges.

Consider summer plans: summer job, summer school, summer course or program at a local college.

May/June

Enroll in summer school, a course at a local college, apply for an internship, or work as a volunteer in your field of interest.

Review literature received from the colleges on short list. Pursue other information resources about these colleges. Visit the college's website.

Consider planning visits to colleges during the summer. Inquire about attending an interview. They book up quickly; set them up as early as possible.

July/August

Tour colleges and conduct interviews. Include family members or incorporate these visits with family's vacation plans. Plan fall visits, if necessary.

If you go on interviews or visits, don't forget to send thank you notes.

Begin preparation for the application process: assemble portfolios, collect writing samples, draft application essays, and, if applicable, contact the coaches at the college to inquire about athletic scholarships.

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Another College Cyber Attacked, Hackers Demand $2M Ransom

July 16, 2019

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

Monroe College's IT system was hacked last week, disabling many of its technology systems and platforms as hackers demanded $2 million ransom in Bitcoin to restore access. Faculty, students and staff members were locked out of the college's websites but continued to attend class and hand in homework, regardless. [...]

Proposed Pell Grant Expansion for Short-Term Training Programs

July 9, 2019

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

Lawmakers are considering extending Pell Grants to people who pursue short-term training in order to land better jobs, faster. Federal student aid in the form of Pell Grants can currently be used for college degrees and qualifying certificate programs. [...]

3 Women Charged in $1M Student Financial Aid Fraud

July 2, 2019

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

Three San Bernardino County women who have been accused of stealing $1 million in federal financial aid from Fullerton college, in California, have been arrested by the U.S. Justice Department and are charged with various counts of mail and wire fraud. The scheme involved enrolling hundreds of mainly non-existent students, successfully applying for grants and loans and pocketing the money. [...]

Last Reviewed: July 2019