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College Planning Tips for Juniors

Your high school junior year is the best time to explore the possibilities ahead of you - whether those possibilities include college, travel, or a career. Now is the time to ask questions about your future, shadow a job, visit colleges, take interest surveys, and set up a checking and/or savings account.

Your junior year is the last complete year that colleges may review, so it's important to maintain good grades. Keep in close touch with your guidance office about your grades and course selection.

Month-specific tips

A few of the steps you'll take to prepare for college during your junior year should be done during a specific month:


Register for and take the PSAT/NMSQT Test that will be held in October.
By taking the PSAT/NMSQT, you can gain knowledge that will assist you when it comes time to take the SAT I and II. Also, by taking this test, you will be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Competition.

You may also want to consider registering for the ACT or SAT offered in the spring of your junior year, if you haven't taken it already. If you aren't pleased with your score, you will still have another opportunity your senior to take the test again. You will also be placed on various schools' mailing lists if you select as being interested what their school offers.


Set up a savings plan for summer earnings.
Are you planning to work during the summer before your senior year of high school? Set up a plan, determining the portion of your earnings you'll save to help pay your college expenses and possibly reduce the amount you will borrow to pay for college.

Tips for the entire year

The majority of the things you'll want to do to prepare for college aren't specific to a period of time.

Selecting a school

Start/continue your college search.
This includes attending college fairs and college financial aid sessions. Start to think about visiting some college campuses to see which ones suit you. Continue to research colleges through their websites, college fairs, admissions representatives and applications, books, and college guides. By doing this, you will get an idea of what's required and take the mystery out of the process.

You may want to research military academies and colleges. Review websites and meet with military representatives when they visit your school or visit the schools. Most military academies and colleges start the admissions process earlier than traditional colleges and universities. You may need to take the ASVAB test as part of the admissions process.


Admissions and preparation

Paying for school

Advice for parents of juniors

As parents of high school age students, you may question if you have any degree of influence in their decision-making processes. Be reassured that they are listening to you, probably much more often than you think. So what can you do to help them in their search and preparation for college?