High School Juniors

Action Plan

It's junior year, and the time has come for serious college planning. If you prepare for standardized tests now, you can avoid the frenzy of senior year. Time spent now will more than pay off next year. You will be able to keep up your grades and enjoy your final high school months while scouring Scholarships.com for free scholarship money!

Consider Possible Majors

It will be helpful to research potential majors this year. Identify your interests, and use them to create a list of possible college majors. If you are not ready to pin down your career, and most high school students aren't, consider taking a career assessment test. Some websites provide free assessment tests that match your interests with possible careers. You may also want to speak with your guidance counselor to find out if these tests are offered at your school.

Continue Researching Colleges

Once you have an idea of what you would like to do, taking the next step in your college search and creating a list of prospective colleges will become easier. Find schools which specialize in your areas of interest and which offer the majors you are considering. Consider the size, location, and educational reputation of schools when you are narrowing your search. Are you willing to live in a rural area or do you love the bustle of city life? Do you like the intimacy of a small school or would you prefer a large campus? These are some questions to ask yourself when you conduct your research. Once you have narrowed your choices, make the time to visit these colleges. Plan a trip when school is in session to get a feel for what a regular day looks like. Check out the area, speak with a professor, and interview an admissions officer. Some schools may even allow you to sit in on a class of interest. All these steps will help you make the right college choice.

Search For Scholarships

Many people think your senior year is the time to begin searching for scholarships. While senior year is certainly an important time to be searching for ways to fund your education and you certainly should be heavy into your scholarship search by then, you really should begin now. Not only as a means of doing research for next year, when many more scholarships will be available for you, but also because there are scholarships specifically for you, the high school junior.

Begin Preparing For Standardized Tests

To compare your level of preparation with that of students nationwide, most colleges require that you take the SAT or the ACT. You can usually choose which to send, but some colleges only accept one of these. Check to see which your colleges of interest require. Most students take these tests during their senior year, but if you wish, you can take them a year in advance. If you decide to wait, at least familiarize yourself with the test outline. Most libraries carry instructional books with practice exams and test-taking tactics designed to improve your scores.

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by Susan Dutca-Lovell

Photo credit: Jared Ames

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