High School Junior Vital Resources
As a high school junior, you are now more than halfway through your high school experience. It is ever-more critical to stay organized and goal-oriented as the time frame for college approaches. Like any large goal, we suggest you come up with a set of specific milestones then supporting activities to support the attainment of the goal.
During your junior year, you will want to take the PSAT test. Taking the test early will provide you information on how you stack up to others taking the test which will allow you to target specific colleges of interest. If you are not happy with your scores, invest in an SAT prep course to better prepare you for the SAT.
It is not unreasonable to begin thinking about a college major based on your interests, talents, proclivities, and goals. Whether you are looking for information or inspiration, we have assembled a few books you will want to read to help decipher a potential area of emphasis in college:
What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles
Find Your Passion by Henri Junttila
I Could Do Anything if I Only Knew What it Was by Barbara Sher
Do What You Are by Paul D. Tieger
The Pathfinder by Nicholas Lore
Electives, College Prep, AP Classes. In addition to the core curricula and extracurricular activities, electives can be yet another way for students to help distinguish themselves from others college candidates. Many schools offer electives that bode well for prospective college students to enhance your appeal such as drama, writing, music, journalism, art, or television. Make sure to check with your counselor to ascertain the type of electives available and how to best slot them into your schedule.
College prep classes provide students access to college-level material while still in high school. The rigor and work involved are a strong indication of your educational trajectory and yet another way to stand out in a crowded pack of applicants. Another benefit of taking college prep classes while in high school is the fact that many colleges require specific classes be taken prior to becoming eligible for other classes. More specifically, you may need to take calculus I and calculus II prior to becoming eligible for a college-level engineering class. College prep classes also serve the purpose of giving students more options. Meaning, if you are unsure of a major or field of study yet have several college prep classes under your belt prior to graduation, you may have a jumpstart on several areas of emphasis prior to a formal decision.
Advanced Placement courses. Advanced Placement courses, better known as AP, are basically college-level classes that can juice your GPA and provide a clear indication to a college admission team your ability to accept new challenges. AP classes may not be offered for every discipline at your school, so check with your counselor and make a plan accordingly.
College visits are an essential piece of your high school junior year. Getting a jump on college visits will give you a first-hand opportunity to experience a college or university along with the opportunity to meet faculty and students at the school. Make sure to create a checklist of things to see and people to speak with while on tour so you can refer back to your notes at any time.
By your junior year in high school, you should have a working list of colleges and universities that appeal to you. This written list will expand and contract over time but will serve as a vital guidepost in the months to come. You will likely continue researching colleges and financial aid options as the combinations are many when it comes to aligning school with resources. Once you have a short list to work from, get a complete list of the items required for the school’s application and begin working on gathering the necessary resources as far in advance as possible.