Junior TimelineThings Students Can do toBetter Prepare for College
September Guidance Update Contact Colleges & Universities Community Service Register for PSAT Plan Your Work & Work Your Plan Get OrganizedGuidance--Chat with your guidance counselor to make sure you’re on the right track for what you want to do. Example, some colleges require 3 years of the same foreignlanguage while others only require 2. Remember, counselors work in high school and don’t know everything about every college, you, the student, can research & ﬁnd stuffout, too. College & University websites are an excellent place to start. While you’re in the guidance ofﬁce, check out your stats...rank, GPA, & other academic standings areways colleges sort prospective students.Contact Colleges--Students making the ﬁrst move is often how students and colleges meet. Colleges are a business and they don’t send random messages. Be a proactivestudent and ask them to send you information, that opens the door for them to check you out.Community Service--Get involved & make a difference. Colleges love to see prospective students who are willing to make a positive difference for the community they live in.Join clubs and organizations at school and in the community.PSAT--This is the year the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test counts. It’s only offered on 2 days this year, Wednesday, Oct. 17 at LHS & Saturday, Oct. 20 atsurrounding schools.Goals--It’s hard to know if you’ve met a goal if you haven’t taken the time to ﬁgure out where you want to be & what it takes to get there. Get your game plan together andwork it out.Get Organized--This is the year to get it together. Planners are a great way to ﬁgure out what’s coming at you at any given time. The trouble with planners is that they onlywork when you use them. Figure out a schedule that works for you. Plan the entire day and stick to it. Be speciﬁc & task oriented (check lists are great), that way you won’ttalk yourself out of getting stuff done & you can see your progress.
October Take the PSAT Practice for the SAT and/or ACT for Free with DISCUS Preview College Applications Sharpen Your Writing Skills Remember Your Plan? Check Some Things Off ResearchPSAT--If you’re wanting a chance to get hooked up with some pretty sweet scholarships & think your smart enough to hang with the top students in the nation, take thistest, it could pay off big for you.Practice--Check out DISCUS online learning through the South Carolina’s Virtual Library. Click on A-Z List of Resources, then scroll all the way down the ﬁrst columnand click on Learning Express Library. You have to give them an email address and create a password, and then you get hooked into free ACT, SAT, & PSAT tests.You can even study for other things, like the AP Exams (most subject areas), COMPASS (technical school placement exam), & even higher education exams, like theGMAT, MCAT, & LSAT.Preview--The best way to get to know what colleges want to know about you is by looking at what they ask for. Sharing general information & knowing what they lookfor help you get a better understanding and realistic idea of the time frame college applications take.Writing Skills--This is often the ﬁrst impression colleges get from you. The better you articulate in writing, the better you potential college will view you. Do what youneed to do to be a better writer. Make your English teacher your best friend, they love English and the’ll love you for wanting to do more with them.The Plan--Remember those goals for what you want to be and how you’re going to get there? Review the list and see if you can check anything off...like making thegrades you know you can, ﬁnding that community service project, or lining up a job shadowing experience so you can get a better feel for a career.Research--Find schools that you’re interested in and weigh the pros and cons. Some may be better in areas that are more important. Some things you thought wereimportant may not be that important in the big picture.
November Check Your Gauges Community Service Research Some More Perfect Practice Makes Perfect ResultsGauges--This is a great time to check all your gauges. You know how a car has the gas gauge, the oil gauge, the speedometer, theodometer...stuff like that? Well, checking your own “school gauges” are a good idea. They help you ﬁgure out where you’re been (odometer),how much farther you can go without making a change (gas gauge), how long you can go before you need some help & preventativemaintenance (oil gauge), & how fast you’re getting to where you’re heading (speedometer). More brass tacks questions could be something like,"where do I need to spend more time studying?" or "is there an area where I can use my time more wisely?"Community Service--Continue to serve the community and kick it up a notch. Ask if you can be more involved in an activity or branch out andshare your service with another group or organization to better the community. Remember to jot down what projects you help with so you canadd those in to the organizations/community service section on college applications.More Research--Research is a constant activity. Find some time to search more places and sort out which ones best ﬁt you, your interests &your pocketbook.Practice--Just like in class, the more you do correctly, the easier it gets.
December Check Out the Dates for the Spring SAT & ACT What do you Want to be...Seriously Check Those Gauges Again Research & Fine Tune Writing Ready?Spring SAT/ACT--Check out those dates. Often times, money and a weekend in the Spring is hard to come by. It’s easier to ﬁnd a day to take atest several months in advance & go ahead and sign up for it. Once you’ve committed, you’ll probably make sure you get there.Career--Really think hard about what you’re good at and what you love doing. That’s some of the best advice when it come to the big questionslike "what do you want to be when you grow up?" If you give a good bit of thought to your future now, it’s a whole lot easier dealing with it when itcomes your way. You don’t have to know if you want to be something speciﬁc, like an underwater welder, but more along the lines of, I like beingin the water and working with my hands. Lots of times your interests change, but those core things about you rarely change...stick to ﬁguring outwhat those are and use those to guide you to ﬁnding what ﬁeld of study you want to be in when you grow up.Gauges--Keep a good check on these. Sometimes it’s easier to head a problem off at the pass when you check things out & keep themcopasetic.Research--Start narrowing down what colleges you’re truly interested in & actively seek information from them. Call Admissions ofﬁces and seeif over the holiday, you can come out a take a look at the campus and have a chat with them about you & how the campus works.Writing Ready?--Is your writing ready? Find someone who knows how to write well (English, Journalism & Media Specialists are teachers arereally good at this...they do it all day long) and they love reading and they give pretty good feedback one how your writing comes across to others& how to make it better.
January Summer Job Make a “Me Folder” Review Your Semester Schedule Research, Write, Repeat SAT/ACT PracticeSummer Job--Start thinking about a summer job & ﬁgure out if it’s going to work for you and your family schedule. Colleges like to see studentstaking responsibility in becoming adults.Me Folder--Have a place where you keep awards, accolades, certiﬁcates, community service logs, and stuff like that. It makes it way easier toﬁnd and add into a college application.Semester Schedule--Double check to make sure youve got what you need to get what you want. Talk with your guidance counselor to makesure youre on the right track.Research & Write--Have you noticed the patttern? Keep sifting through the schools youre interested in. Keep honing those writing skills.SAT/ACT Practice--Remember the SAT/ACT test dates. Most juniors take the SAT &/or ACT in the spring semester of their junior year.
February Sift & Sort Colleges Check Gauges Keep on the Look Out Practice & WriteSift & Sort--Remember all that research? Try to narrow down to around 5 schools you’re really super interested in and have a pretty goodchance at being accepted into. Work hard & pursue those colleges. Show you’re interested, really interested in them. Visit or Re-visit thecollege, try to have some face to face time with an admissions counselor & be prepared to have some frank conversations about what you wantfrom a school and what that school can provide you. Take what they say, think it over, & see if you can live with what they’ve got to offer.Check Gauges--Make sure you’re doing what you need to to be where you want to be. If you’re not, make changes; if you are on track, thenkeep doing what you’re doing.Look Out--Keep on the look out for colleges that might interest you. Sometimes we can get caught up in the sifting & sorting and forget that wecan still add to the list. You can always add, just try to maintain a manageable number so its not overwhelming.Practice & Write--Practice test taking strategies and writing skills. Things should be getting more familiar, faster & easier to take.
March Apply for that Summer Job Learn About Money Check Gauges Sift & Sort Practice, Write, RepeatApply--This is a great time to apply. The early bird gets the worm, and often, the job. This is also great practice for ﬁling out college applications.Lots of job applications have similar questions to college applications.Money--Go to the library, high school, county, where ever books are, that’s where you need to be looking for books about ﬁnancial literacy andhow to deal with money in college & even before college. There are also lots of great websites that can help you ﬁgure out how to manage yourmoney. The National Endowment for Financial Education is one of my favs...check out the website and see if it helps you...http://www.hsfpp.org/resources.aspx.Gauges--How are things going? Make changes that are going to improve your education.Sift & Sort--Keep ﬁguring out which school is best for you. Have an open mind.Practice, Write, Repeat--Practice you test taking skills and prepare for the SAT/ACT. Keep getting better at writing.
April Schedule the SAT or ACT Community Service Check Gauges Practice, Research, Write, RepeatSAT/ACT--Schedule either of the exams. You should be pretty well set with all the preparation you’ve done so far. Go to guidance to register oryou can sign up online at http://sat.collegeboard.org/home.Community Service--Start looking for ways to serve your community. Feel free to stick with what you’ve done in the past or try something new.Serving is serving. Just be sure to make an impact and be memorable. The people who you help in community service, may be the ones youask for recommendation letters.Check Gauges--sometimes students get tired of school. Remember to keep your head in the game.Practice--Testing strategies;Research-Colleges and universities for programs and ﬁelds that you’re interested in;Write--Better than you have before;Repeat--Do it again.
May Take the SAT/ACT Summer Reading Campus Visits Think About Retaking the SAT/ACTSAT/ACT--Take the test you already signed up for. You’re ready for this.Summer Reading--Develop a summer reading list. Often in college interviews, a question that’s asked is "what have you been reading thatwasn’t required for school?" Schools are trying to get an insight into your personality. Lots of times in scholarship interviews, this is a questionon the application. If you write a book title down, you might want to refresh your memory with SparkNotes or Cliff’s Notes, because they’ll askyou some questions about it...and no one wants to look foolish and say "oh, I read that in the 3rd grade. I don’t remember it."Campus Visits--Narrow down to your top 2-3 schools and head out to the campus. Check out, in depth, what goes on at that school. Use yourcritical, yet understanding eye to help you decide if that is the right place for you. Often times, weekend trips are good to see student life; thedown side to that is many times, schools don’t have tours set up then, unless you call ahead. Lesson to remember: Call ahead if you want tosee student life & talk to admissions.Retake?--Did your score come out to what you wanted? Consider retaking the test.
ParentsPreparing for Your Student’s Junior Year
Parents To Do List Financial Look Talk About It Go to College Fairs Campus Visits Make Sure Your Student is on Top of Scholarships Ask About Scholarships Through Your EmployerFinances--Check over your family budget and see what y’all have to work with regarding college tuition.Talk About It--Talk with your student about his/her interests and where he/she sees himself/herself headed. Talk about things like, why thoseparticular schools, what do you really like doing & what is it that makes that more appealing than anything else.College Fairs--Get the biggest bang for your buck. College fairs are a great way to see whats out there. Lots of colleges, lots of people willingto talk to you & lots of information. This is a great way to share in the research process with your student. Feel free to let your student askquestions. This is a great time for parents to see glimpses into the young adult their child is becoming.Campus Visits--Go tour a campus together that your student is interested in. Walk around, smell the air & get a real feel for how life might be onthat campus. Sometimes you can even sit in on a real college class.Scholarships--Reminding, nudging, looking over, whatever you want to call it, make sure your student is hot and heavy on the look out forscholarships, completing applications & meeting deadlines. This could be money that you don’t have to pull out of the family budget.Employee Scholarships--Several employers have a scholarship program that only family members of employees can participate in. Ask around& see if your employer does that. Have your student go after those; you just might get it.