Junior College Planning Timeline

  • Fall
    • Meet with your guidance counselor to review the courses you've taken and see what you still need to take.
    • Check your gpa percentile. Even if your grades haven't been that good so far, it's never too late to improve. Colleges like to see an upward trend.
    • Take the PSAT Test to qualify for National Merit Scholarships. This is also the qualifying test for the National Scholarship Service and National Hispanic Scholar Recognition Program.
    • Learn your social security number.
    • Take a long, hard look at why you want to continue your education after high school so you will be able to choose the best college or university for your needs.
    • Make a list of colleges that meet your most important criteria (size, location, and distance from home, majors, academic rigor, housing, and cost). Weigh each of the factors according to their important to you.
    • Continue visiting college fairs. You may be able to narrow your choices or add a college to your list.
    • Speak to college representatives who visit your high school.
    • If you want to participate in Division I or Division II sports in college, start the certification process. Check with your guidance counselor to make sure you are taking a core curriculum that meets NCAA requirements.
    • If you are interested in one of the military academies, talk to your guidance counselor about starting the application.
    • Collect information about college application procedures, entrance requirements, tuition and fees, room and board costs, student activities, course offerings, faculty composition, accreditation and financial aid. The Internet is a good way to visit colleges and obtain this information. Begin comparing the schools by the factors that you consider to be most important.
    • Discuss your PSAT score with your guidance counselor.
    • Begin narrowing down your college choices. Find out if the colleges you are interested in require the SAT, ACT or SAT Subject Tests for admission.
    • Register for the ACT Test which is usually taken in April or June. You can take it again late in the junior year or the fall of the senior year.
    • Begin preparing for the tests you've decided to take.
    • Have a discussion with your parents about the colleges in which you are interested. Examine financial resources and gather information about financial aid.
    • Set up a filing system with individual folders for each college's correspondence and printed materials.
    • Meet with your guidance counselor to review senior year course selection and graduation requirements.
    • Discuss ACT and SAT scores with your guidance counselor. Register to take the ACT and/or SAT again if you are trying to improve your score.
    • Discuss the college essay with your guidance counselor or English teacher.
    • Stay involved with co-curricular activities. Colleges look for consistency and depth in activities.
    • Consider whom you will ask to write your recommendations. Think about asking teachers who know you well and who will write positive academic recommendations about you. Letters from a coach, activity teacher, or an adult who knows you well outside of school are also valuable.
    • Inquire about personal interviews at your favorite colleges. Call or write for early summer appointments. Make necessary travel arrangements.
    • See your guidance counselor to apply for on-campus summer programs for high school students. Apply for a summer job or internship. Be prepared to pay for college application, financial aid and testing fees in the fall.
    • Request applications from schools you're interested in by mail or via the Internet.
    • Visit the campuses of your top five college choices.
    • Consider participating in a summer program on a college campus.
    • After each college interview, send a thank you letter to the interviewer.
    • Talk to people you know who have attended the colleges in which you are interested.
    • Continue to read books, magazines and newspapers.
    • Volunteer in your community.
    • Compose rough drafts of your college essays. Have a teacher read and discuss them with you. Proofread them and prepare final drafts. Proofread you final essays at least three times.
    • Develop a financial aid application plan, including a list of the aid sources, requirements for each application, and a timetable for meeting the filing deadlines.