Junior Year Timeline
At most high schools, students have the option to begin taking Advanced Placement courses their junior year. If you feel that you can handle such courses, talk to your guidance counselor to learn more about them. Not only do Advanced Placement courses look good on your transcripts, but you can also earn college credit by taking them. This credit can save you time and money when you begin college and what you learned in your A.P. classes will put you head and shoulders above your peers. If you don’t feel that you can handle taking all A.P. classes, just take one or two.
Opt for A.P.
- Scholarships, scholarships, scholarships.
Not all scholarships allow you to apply as early as junior year, but many do. The earlier you begin your scholarship search the better. You will find that many of the universities that you are interested in offer scholarships for matriculating freshman. While most college scholarships are based on merit, there are others available for race, religion, and students with unique circumstances or special talents. Many essay and sweepstakes scholarships allow students to apply during their junior year, so you may want to make these types your first priority.
- Visit any out of state universities.
If there are a few out of state colleges on your list that you are still considering, now is the time to check them out. Make sure that when you critique out of state universities during your visit that you factor in the difference in price. Unless an out-of-state institution extends a generous financial aid package, it will almost always be cheaper to attend a college in your state and the difference in cost is worth taking into account. Also, when you visit out of state universities you should look into their housing options. If you plan on living off campus, check out the surrounding neighborhoods and get an idea about housing affordability in the area.
- Compare and contrast.
During your junior year most students begin narrowing down their college choices and focusing on a select few. When you are comparing these colleges take note of what characteristic they share. This will give you an idea of some of the key qualities that you found most appealing. Also consider the differences between them, and how each would impact you if you attended one of your choice schools.
- Take your SAT/ACT.
You should take your SAT/ACT as early as possible during your junior year so that there is time to improve your score if necessary. The scores you receive will also help you determine whether or not you are eligible for the universities on your list. You should also investigate which test the college that you are interested in requires. Most will take either, but some universities do have a preference.
- Letters of recommendation.
It seems early, but even adults procrastinate. If you think you might need letters of recommendation, it is always better to ask for them as soon as possible. You should have at least 3 or 4 on hand by the end of junior year if you plan on applying to colleges the following fall.
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