Road Map for October: Juniors

I hope your junior year is off to a great start! As always, your top priority for the year should be getting the best grades you can, since colleges first and foremost are looking for students with strong academics. Keep in mind that an upward trend is seen positively, so if you didn’t get the grades you hoped for in the first half of high school but your grades this year are better, colleges will view this favorably.  I like to see juniors setting goals and tracking progress toward them, and it can help to focus on processes rather than outcomes: submitting all assignments on time, spending a certain amount of time per day or per week on each subject, etc.

Juniors are also taking the PSAT this month, with scores available in November. I recommend also taking a practice ACT this fall, and I hope you’ll save the date for my free webinar, This Is Only a Test, on December 3. In this session I’ll cover how to use your practice scores to develop a testing plan, as well as the latest trends and guidance on test-optional admissions.

You should also be thinking about the criteria for your college list. If you haven’t done any campus tours yet, get a couple on the calendar before Thanksgiving if possible. It’s totally fine if you can’t travel–just see a couple of schools in your area. If you have already done tours, think about what you liked and didn’t like about the schools you saw. Then start doing research to find options that meet your preferences. For online research, I recommend reviewing the academics, campus life, and admissions sections of colleges’ websites to get a sense of whether a particular school meets your criteria. If it does, consider an in-person visit at some point this year.