Rising Juniors – Summer College Search Checklist

blue-flip-flops-mdLast week I talked about what rising high school seniors should be doing over the summer to prep for college applications in the fall.  This week, I am focusing on what rising high school juniors should do over the summer to further the college search process.

Rising high school juniors are entering a critical point in the college search process where prep work should happen for the college application process.  Staying on track junior year avoids scramble senior year and will help your future high school senior focus on college applications and scholarship applications.

Some of the key college search activities for junior year are:

  • PSAT test and ACT or SAT tests
  • College visits
  • High school activity/award resume building
  • Getting great grades
  • Creating a college list
  • Developing teacher and mentor relationships

These are the things your rising high school junior can be doing this summer to prepare for these activities:

  • Test Prep – There are great and inexpensive test prep resources for PSAT, SAT and ACT.  If your student plans on taking the ACT, check out my list of ACT Prep Resources.  Similar resources exist for PSAT and SAT.  For PSAT, you may just want to pick up a PSAT Prep Guide.  Amazon or your local bookstore will have several good options.
  • Start the College List – I offer a great free tool for keeping track of the colleges your students wants to visit and/or explore further, College Search Spreadsheet.  One first step for the college search spreadsheet is to decide what information you want to track for each school.  You can edit the columns on the spreadsheet to include these things.
  • College Visits – This summer is a good time for initial college visits.  Read The Summer College Visit for more information on the pros and cons of doing summer visits.  In addition, it’s a good time to look up visit days for the schools that are on your initial college list.  You can find these visit days on the college’s website.  Add these to your college search spreadsheet and start blocking off your calendar to accommodate them.
  • College Search Homework – Summer is a great time to read up on preparing for college applications.  The more your student understands what the expectations are, the less stressful it will be later on.  A book that I found tremendously helpful is B+ Grades, A+ College Application.  It is meant to be read by students, but will be very helpful for parents as well.  Parents, also check out my Start Here page for tips on what to read to be well-informed.

High school juniors will have a very busy and exciting year – lots of extra-curricular activities, difficult classes, standardized tests, college visits, and more.  Help your student stay organized now and be ready for a great year by doing some summer college search preparation.

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