College Checklist for High School Juniors

High School Junior Checklist

You can learn more about a few of the most critical pieces of your high school junior year with this to be used as a supplement to the Match College Admissions Guide.  Our ultimate goal is to provide students with the tools and resources to effectively navigate the college selection process.  As with our freshman and sophomore checklists, we start at the beginning of the school year and toggle by three month increments to help navigate the upcoming years leading up to college.

Fall: September, October, November

  • Register for the Preliminary SAT (PSAT)/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) that takes place in October.  The PSAT is a great tool to prepare you for the SAT and the NMSQT is your entry-point for a variety of scholarships.
  • Re-read the Match College Complete Guide to the College Admission Process as a refresher to keep on top of the variety of priorities at hand.
  • Continue to research colleges and universities to find the best fit given your specific set of priorities and overarching goals.  Attempt to narrow your list to under thirty prospective colleges in an effort to move towards a short list.
  • If you have yet to do so, join a club or extracurricular activity this quarter.  You will gain valuable insights and enhance your life experience.
  • Link up with your counselor or a private tutor to hone your test taking strategies and sharpen your college plans.

Winter: December, January, February

  • Stay organized and keep working hard on your grades.
  • Continue to invest in your writing skills in advance of the SAT and ACT tests.
  • Go deeper with your extracurricular activities:  lead a group project, coordinate an event, learn a new skill, help build a team.
  • Learn more about potential grants and scholarships.
  • Leverage the tens of thousands of information on MatchCollege to help with your college planning.

Spring: March, April, May

  • Get a jump on your peers by asking your teachers for a letter of recommendation.
  • Sit for the ACT and SAT test.  Succeed to plan by planning to succeed.
  • Understand the admission requirements for the colleges on your short-list and schedule school visits accordingly.
  • Consult your counselor or a private tutor to refine your writing skills for the essay portion of the application.
  • If you are able to sit for an AP test in May, schedule the test in advance and ensure you are well rested & ready to focus for the test.
  • Apply for summer jobs early.  Be polite, professional, and punctual for all meetings and/or interviews.

Summer: June, July, August

  • If you have a summer job, make the most of the opportunity.  Remain curious and understand development happens in stages.
  • Get prepared for more standardized tests in the fall.
  • Work on your financial aid plan & refine piece-parts as necessary.
  • Tour a few colleges and universities on your short list.
  • Read voraciously and get mentally prepared for your senior year in high school.


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