- Junior year grades are extremely important in the college admission process, because they are a measure of how well you do in advanced, upper-level courses. Grades also are used to determine scholarships and grants for which you may be eligible. So put in the extra effort and keep those grades up!
- Begin college selection process. Attend college fairs, financial aid seminars, general information sessions, etc., to learn as much as you can about the college application process. Make sure you are meeting NCAA requirements if you want to play Division I or II sports in college.
- Save samples of your best work for your academic portfolio (all year)
- Maintain your co-curricular record (all year).
- Listen to announcements and attend College Callers if you are interested in colleges or universities visiting OPRFHS. Be sure to get a College Caller permission slip from the counseling office and check with your teachers in advance.
- Junior year PSAT scores may qualify a student for the National Merit Scholarship Competition and the National Achievement and the National Hispanic Scholars Programs. So, even though these scores will not be used for college admission, it is still a good idea to take the PSAT. The more times you take standardized tests, the more familiar you will become with the format and the types of questions asked. If you wish to receive free information from colleges, indicate on the PSAT test answer form that you want to participate in the Student Search.
- If you will require financial aid, start researching your options for grants, scholarships and work-study programs. Make an appointment with your guidance counselor or start by visiting NACAC's Web Resources for the College-Bound to do research on your own using the Internet.
- During December you should receive the results of your PSAT. Read your score report and consult your school counselor to determine how you might improve on future standardized tests. The PSAT is excellent preparation for the SAT Reasoning Test, which you will take in the spring.
- Check with your counselor for the ACT and SAT registration deadlines for the upcoming spring tests. Many colleges accept the ACT (American College Test) or the SAT Reasoning Test. Some colleges require the ACT or both SAT Reasoning Test and the SAT Subject Tests. When you begin to explore different colleges and universities, double-check to see if they prefer or require the ACT, the SAT Reasoning Test and/or the SAT Subject Tests.
- Meet with your counselor to review your courses for this year and plan your schedule for senior year. When selecting your senior courses, be sure to continue to challenge yourself academically.
- Begin to make a preliminary list of colleges you would like to investigate further. Surf the Internet and use the college resources in the guidance office or library.
- Ask your parents for your Social Security number (required on many college applications). If you were never issued a Social Security number, contact the closest Social Security office as soon as possible to obtain a number.
- Meet with your counselor to discuss your preliminary list of colleges. Discuss whether your initial list of colleges meets your needs and interests (academic program, size, location, cost, etc.) and whether you are considering colleges where you are likely to be admitted. You should be optimistic and realistic when applying to colleges.
- Register for the April/May/June ACT Test and/or April/May/June SAT Reasoning Test (and Subject Tests if you’d like). Not all SAT Subject Tests are given on every test date. Check the calendar carefully to determine when the Subject Tests you want are offered.
- Complete “My Game Plan”, “My Resume” and “My Colleges” and “Questionnaire for Recommendation Letters” in Naviance.
- Look into summer jobs or apply for special summer academic or enrichment programs. Colleges love to see students using their knowledge and developing their skills and interests.
- Attend a college fair to get more information about colleges on your list. NACAC sponsors college fairs in cities across the country during the fall and the spring. Visit NACAC's National College Fairs Web page to check out the schedule for the National College Fairs and the Performing and Visual Arts College Fairs.
- Get a jump start on summer activities-consider enrolling in an academic course at a local college, pursuing a summer school program, applying for an internship, working, or volunteering. If you work, save part of your earnings for college.
- Begin visiting colleges. Phone to set up appointments. Interviews are always a good idea. Many colleges will tell you they are optional, but an interview will show interest, enthusiasm and initiative on your part and provide an excellent opportunity to have your questions answered. Do a practice interview with your counselor, teacher, employer, or a senior who has had college interviews. Set up interviews as early as possible-interview times become booked quickly!
- After school ends, get on the road to visit colleges. Seeing the college firsthand, taking a tour and talking to students can be the greatest help in deciding whether or not a school is right for you. Although it is ideal to visit colleges during the academic year, going in the summer will be valuable. Admission offices employ their students to give tours and answer questions from prospective students and their parents.
- Visit colleges, take tours, have interviews and ask questions. Make college visiting a family event. Involve your parents and siblings in every step of your application process. Choosing the right college is a tough decision; the opinions of those who know you best can provide helpful insight into which college is best for you.
- Continue to refine your list of potential colleges and universities.
- Begin preparing for the actual application process: draft application essays; collect writing samples; and assemble portfolios or audition tapes. If you are an athlete and plan on playing in college, contact the coaches at the schools to which you are applying and ask about intercollegiate and intramural sports programs and athletic scholarships.
- Complete the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse form if you hope to play Division I or II sports. (This form cannot be mailed until you finish your sixth semester of high school.)
- Complete your Naviance: My Resume, My Game Plan, My Colleges and most importantly for your counselor’s recommendation, the Questionnaire for Recommendation Letters.
- Register for the September or October ACT or SAT if you are planning on retaking them in the fall. Make sure to be working on specific areas of improvement, whether that be taking practice tests, working with a tutor or taking a prep class. Your scores are unlikely to change unless you take action.