While seniors in high school have started to receive their admissions decisions, juniors are still agonizing over standardized tests, making a college list, and finding teachers for recommendations, among other things. This time period in every high schooler’s life is incredibly stressful and anxiety-provoking. However, with the right help, the time period from now until June won’t seem as intimidating. Here is what juniors in high school should be doing over the next six months!
Start doing light research on potential colleges based on your current GPA and SAT/ACT scores. There’s no use in researching a college based off of scores you hope you will have, rather than ones that you do have. As it gets closer to the end of the year, look further into potential options. Once you have your final GPA and SAT/ACT scores, start to finalize your list. President’s Weekend and spring break are both great times to tour colleges, so take advantage of the time off.
From now until June, many standardized tests will be administered: the SAT, ACT, SAT IIs and APs, all on top of midterms, finals and regular schoolwork. It definitely seems overwhelming, but spacing out the ACT/College Board exams and creating a manageable schedule for them can ease any worries. Prioritize your studying and study over long periods of time. Towards Mid-April and early May, figure out which scores need to be raised and which can stay how they are, and focus on the former.
While the school year is only about halfway over, it is possible to see which teachers you have a good relationship with, or ones with which you think you can foster a good relationship. For these teachers, participate in their classes, attend extra help and really get to know them, just as they will most likely want to get to know you. You don’t need to be best friends, but to ensure a quality recommendation, there needs to be interaction on both ends outside of the classroom. Around May, ask him/her for a recommendation, and try to do it before too many students have asked.
College Essay Topics
While there is no point in adding stress by attempting to write a college essay, it is always good to start brainstorming possible topics. One night while trying to procrastinate other work, come up with a list of subjects you might want to write about (I suggest keeping this list in your phone). Then, whenever a new idea pops into your head, write it down on that list. Come August, you will have a long list of ideas to choose from, which will greatly expedite the process.
For those submitting an arts supplement, start thinking about which performances/pieces you will want to use. If you do not have a copy of a performance, for example, try to contact someone who does. All of this can be done over breaks, but do not get a late start on this! If you need to make something, do it once most or all tests have been finished and you can dedicate a large chunk of time to creating a masterpiece.
Again, it’s stressful, but planning ahead will alleviate that stress a bit. Sooner than later, you will be buying that college sweatshirt and displaying it proudly!