Road Map for March: Juniors

Best of luck to those of you who are taking the SAT on March 11, and for DC public and charter school students who took it this week, I hope it went well!  If you’re able to get testing completed and off your plate by the beginning of senior year, your workload will be that much lighter, so get your plan in place. Think about the number of sittings you might want to have for either the SAT or the ACT (not both!) and map it out, working around any major commitments you might have such as AP exams, athletics, summer plans, etc.

While it’s not quite time to kick off the application cycle, the Common App announced that the essay prompts for the upcoming application cycle will not change from this year’s.  If you’re interested, you can review the prompts and start thinking about ideas you might like to write about. That is NOT a cue, however, to start writing your college essays! What might be helpful is to create an account in the Common Application and get started on the easy stuff, like the profile and family sections. This will help you become familiar with the platform and allow you to get some of the basic tasks out of the way.

On the other hand, I do recommend lots of application and essay work during the summer, along with whatever other activities you might choose to do: academics, test prep, work, camp, travel, hobbies or volunteering.  Think about what you want to get out of your time away from school–including some time to rest–and then start planning, since many programs are registering students now.

Many of my seniors are in the process of applying for scholarships after completing their applications, but there are also scholarships for current juniors that you can apply for now. I also recommend getting an understanding of the financial aid system early in the process. To do this, complete the Federal Student Aid Estimator, and then look for the Net Price Calculator on the websites of the schools you’re interested in. (The net price is the amount each college will expect you to pay after need-based grants and merit-based scholarships have been applied.)