Junior Year: The Beginning of the College Admissions Process
Updated: Aug 13, 2020
So you just started junior year, and wow, is it a busy one! Chances are, some aspects are already on your radar: the ACT, prom, getting a driver's license, and probably the copious amounts of work required for the rigorous classes of this school year. However, many juniors don't realize that the college admissions process actually begins right now and that you can do several things to make your life a lot easier next summer when it comes time to apply.
Take the ACT, and take it often. Now is the time to invest in a tutor if you feel you need help raising your score in one or more areas. Don't wait until next summer to perfect your score.
Your academic profile will be nearly complete by the end of this year, meaning that what you will list on your college applications happens between the beginning of freshman year and the end of junior year. It's time to take a good look at where you're spending your time and what you are investing in to see if any gaps exist that need plugging. If your extracurriculars are looking a little sparse, join a group or club that feels meaningful and dive in. Colleges are more interested in the depth with which you are invested in these groups, not the quantity of them.
Your academic and social behavior is literally writing your college recommendations as you speak. Your teachers will write about your daily interactions, your work ethic, and your character, so make sure you are displaying all the qualities you'd be proud to let a college see.
Start exploring different colleges and programs; see what kind of environments you'd like to see yourself in for 4 years. Make a list of schools that fall into these categories: reach schools, realistic schools, and safety schools. Start having conversations with parents about financial costs and what is feasible for your unique situation.
Use this year as an opportunity to explore your career path outside of the classroom. Find some people in your community to job shadow or find an after-school or weekend internship that will give you a better idea of the scope and nature of that career. It also looks great on college resumes because it demonstrates initiative and curiosity!
I don't just work with high school seniors; I also work with juniors to help them build and evaluate their academic profiles, find job shadows and internships, build resumes, and scout colleges and programs in preparation for the admissions process the following summer. Let's talk if you want to get a leg up on the competition and make your junior year count!