You will be taking the PSAT in October. The PSAT is a preliminary test that will prepare you for the SAT Reasoning Test. 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. You may purchase your PSAT tickets in the student store this fall.
Log in to My College QuickStart to prepare for the PSAT and SAT, and to help you research colleges and majors.
- 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!
- Save your best work for your portfolio.
- Maintain your co-curricular record.
- If you will require financial aid, start researching your options for grants, scholarships and work-study programs. Make an appointment with your counselor or start by visiting NACAC's Web Resources for the College-Bound to do research on your own using the Internet.
- Estimate your financial aid for college by using the FAFSA4Caster
- You will receive the results of your PSAT. The PSAT is excellent preparation for the SAT Reasoning Test, which you will take in the spring.
- Register for the March SAT Reasoning Test or the April ACT with Writing if you are enrolled in Pre- Calculus. If not, plan to take the SAT Reasoning Test in May or the ACT with Writing in June. Register by clicking on the links to the right. For step-by-step instructions, read the How to Register for the SAT guide.
- Register for the June SAT Subject Tests. June of your Junior Year is the best time to take the SAT Subject Tests. You should take 3 subject tests in your strongest subjects. For example, if you speak Spanish, you should definitely take the Spanish Subject Test. If you are planning on taking math, take the Math Level 2. 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.
- Prepare for the SAT Reasoning Test or ACT by signing up for a prep course at the library, using the College Board's SAT Preparation Center , or by doing the SAT/ACT practice tests available in the counseling office, bookstores or the library. But don't spend so much time trying to improve standardized test scores that grades and co-curricular involvement suffer.
- See the ACT/SAT Concordance Table to see if your SAT or ACT score is higher.
- 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 career center.
- 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.
- 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 or talk with your counselor to discuss this confidentially.
- Request admissions and financial aid information from colleges websites. There is no charge and no obligation to obtain general information about admission and financial aid.
- When selecting your senior courses, colleges expect you to continue to challenge yourself academically.
- 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.
- 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:
- Write your personal statement
- 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.)