Juniors Only

Juniors, below is a list of things you can do to get ready for your senior year (and why you should do them)! Start today!  

1. Sign up to take the SAT and/or the ACT in the spring:

I highly encourage you take both of these tests because they are very different and usually a student does really well on one and not so well on the other. In the fall, I will have a large number of SAT and ACT fee waivers, so if you are on, or are eligible for, free or reduced lunch or you are in foster care, you don't have to pay for these tests. Colleges will accept either test score equally.

    Why take these tests near the end of your junior year? Just to get it out of the way! If you do one or both of the tests this year and get a score you are comfortable with, that is one less thing you have to worry about next year. Also, if you do not do so well, you have time early next fall to re-take the tests. If you plan to apply for fall, Early Action admission to a college, you won't have to scramble in the fall to take your test in time for these early fall deadlines.

        If you are going to go to community college, you technically do not have to take one of these tests. However, many scholarship applications will require you to provide your SAT and/or ACT scores, no matter where you are going to college, so taking either test will increase the number of scholarships you can apply for next year.

        One side note, you will be signing up to take either the SAT with writing or the ACT with writing. Writing is an optional portion of the SAT and ACT, but many colleges want you to have your writing score. Some colleges require SAT II Subject tests be taken. These will be taken at the same time as the SAT Reasoning test, so you should research your chosen colleges in advance, and sign up for subject test(s) as needed when you register for the SAT.

2.      Research the colleges and universities you may be interested in: Go online and compare the minimum requirements, cost of attendance, location, and admission deadlines for next year, etc. Most importantly, please make sure the colleges you are looking into actually offer the major(s) you are interested in, because not all colleges offer all programs of study!

        If you discover that you currently do not meet the minimum requirements that is okay! The best thing you can do for yourself is to try to get good grades this school year and your senior year and start doing community service. You need to show that you have become more dedicated and focused on your studies and your service to the community. There are always loopholes on applications, but addressing issues early on is the best way to make the loopholes work for you.

3.      Contact the colleges and universities you are interested in: Colleges and universities want to accept students that they know are going to attend there upon receiving their acceptance letter (it is part of their national rankings). So, if you contact the colleges you're interested in and express how desperately you want to attend their institution, the more likely they will take an interest in you and hopefully accept you. You can call and ask for admissions materials, register for a campus visit, schedule a meeting with a financial aid advisor or faculty member, anything to get you noticed as a highly interested student. This is especially important if you are considering applying to private schools.

4.      Go on a campus visit: All colleges have fall and spring preview days, so take a day trip to schools you may be interested in to see what each school has to offer. Even if you think you may know the school you want to go to, upon actually visiting the institution you may think otherwise (which is something that has happened a lot over the past couple of years). It can’t hurt to be sure, so go and visit!

5.      Get involved: It is extremely important that you start doing community service of any kind ASAP. Colleges know that during your senior year you have to do community service, so show them that you have a history of doing community service ahead of time. You can go pick up trash on the side of the road, do yard work for your neighbor, unpaid babysitting counts, anything you can do to help out where you do not get paid. Keep track of the month and year you did your service, what specifically you did, and the approximate number of hours you put into it, because you will be asked for this information a lot next year.

6.      Early Admissions/Action: As early as September of your senior year, you can apply to college for Early Admissions/Action if you've taken your SAT and/or ACT and have your essays written. This just means that if you apply to a college next fall, you find out, usually in two or three weeks, if you are accepted or not, and that is it! For most colleges, you are not obligated to go there if you change your mind, and you can apply to multiple schools by Early Admission. The best thing is that you will find out before Christmas where you are accepted to, and that is one stressful thing out of the way. Sometimes colleges will even waive their admissions fees if you apply early! Check with your chosen college's website for more information.

7.      Want to play sports in college? Now is the time to contact any and all coaches at all colleges where you may want to play a sport to let them know who you are and why you would be a great asset to their team. Go online to each school’s athletic site, find the coaches’ email addresses and email everyone your All About Me email. You can also create a sports page about yourself at www.allstudentathletes.com, and you can send them a link to your site along with your email. You can also ask your EHS coaches if they will write a letter to each school about your athletic abilities. 

8.      Write some essays: By essays I mean 100-300 word short answers. Under the ASPIRE portion of the EHS website, there are seven common essay questions that appear frequently on scholarship and college applications. Take a look at these questions and start forming your responses. The best thing to do is be very blunt and make sure you actually answer all parts of the question that are asked. Please don't be afraid to address any difficult experiences you have had in your life. Ask someone to review and edit your essays for grammar.

9. Dream big!!! Do you have a dream college you have always wanted attend or is there a sport you want to play at the college level? This is the time to go for it! The earlier you begin, the better your chances are. Though you may also apply to community college or a state university, if there is some school in some other part of the country you think would be awesome to attend, apply to it! If you're accepted or you make the team, then great! If you don’t get accepted, you always have the other schools or teams you applied to fall back on. This is the time in your life to dream big, and in the end, at least you will know that you tried and gave it all you had!