11th Grade/Junior Year: A Busy and Pivotal Year
(presented by SUNY - click here for actual page)
Prior to your junior year
- Learn more about your personality, skills, abilities, likes, and dislikes by taking an interest inventory or personality profile. Be sure to investigate the searches available from the College Board and ACT.
- Research careers by talking with people, searching the Internet, and reading books and magazines
- Research colleges by visiting our College Search and Exploration Page.
- Prepare for the PSAT/NMSQT or SAT by visiting the College Board’s SAT Preparation Center and sign up for The Official SAT Question of the Day OR take the practice ACT.
- Inquire about national competitions and scholarships, such as the Intel Science Talent Search, by visiting with your counselor
- Take the most challenging courses you can as it is the rigor of your curriculum, along with a solid grade point average, that will be evaluated by college admission committees. Taking challenging courses shows that you are ready for a competitive college environment. Be sure to meet with your counselor to review the courses you’ve taken and determine what you still need to take.
- Maintain your grades – grades earned in your junior year will be evaluated by college admission officials when you apply for admission. You should be spending a minimum of two hours per night on homework and participating in study groups.
- Make sure you have a social security number
- Establish U.S. citizenship. For some non-U.S. citizens, now may be the time to consider pursuing U.S. citizenship.
- Obtain schedules for the SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and ACT and determine which exams you’ll take. Complete the registration forms and mark the dates on your calendar – see your counselor for information.
- Register to take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) if you didn’t do so in the 10th grade – see your counselor for information
- Investigate Honors and Advanced Placement classes - meet with your counselor to discuss whether these are appropriate for you
- Complete SAT II subject exams as you finish subject areas – see your counselor for information
- Develop your leadership skills and stay involved. Colleges look for consistency and depth in activities.
- Attend college fairs, financial aid nights and college-planning workshops – encourage your parent(s)/guardian(s) to accompany you
- Sign-up to participate in college visits at your high school and collect business cards from the representatives with whom you visit
- Establish an e-mail account specifically for your college search. Remember, a “funky” e-mail address is best left for communicating with friends and family.
- Talk to your counselor if you are interested in a military academy to find out about requirements and timelines
- Prepare for the SAT or ACT by taking a preparation course – see you counselor for recommendations
- Register to take the SAT or ACT in the winter or spring
- Consult your counselor about registering to take AP classes during your senior year
- Generate a list of 10-20 colleges and contact them for information. Research costs and make note of upcoming campus visit programs.
- Organize! Make folders for your college information, along with deadlines and important dates. Check it often.
- Send e-mail messages to your colleges of interest to get on their mailing lists
- Research scholarships at FastWeb and see your counselor for additional information
- Create a first draft of your resume to maintain a record of college courses taken, college programs in which you’ve participated, awards you’ve won, projects you’ve completed, extracurricular achievements, and volunteer work
- Review your senior year class schedule with your counselor to ensure that it fulfills graduation requirements
- Start the certification process if you are interested in participating in college athletics. Consult with your athletic director or coach(es) to determine whether you are a candidate for an athletic program. Be sure to check with your counselor to make sure you’re taking a core curriculum that meets NCAA requirements.
- Research Early Decision and Early Action programs and schedule your testing to meet early deadlines
- Continue to attend college fairs, financial aid nights and college-planning workshops – many spring events are designed for high school juniors
- Utilize your college list to arrange visits to campuses during spring break and encourage your parent(s)/guardian(s) to attend, too. Remember to send thank you notes following your visit(s).
- Contact your U.S. Representative or U.S. Senator to express your interest in and desire to be nominated to attend a military academy
- Consult your coach and counselor BEFORE submitting the NCAA Clearinghouse form to compete in Division I or II college athletics
- Consider whom you’ll ask to write letters of recommendation (current teachers and counselors). Then, provide a summary of what you wish for them to include and politely ask if they can assist. Remember to send each a thank you note.
- Inquire about personal interviews or group information sessions at your favorite colleges. Call or write for summer appointments.
- Request applications from schools in which you are interested (mail or Internet)
- Search for summer pre-college programs, workshops and classes on SUNY campuses or apply for internships and summer jobs in your field of interest
- Find a summer job or internship that reflects your career interests
- Pace yourself. Don’t spend so much time trying to improve standardized test scores that your grades and involvement in activities suffer – find and maintain a balance.
Following your junior year
- Take the SAT II subject tests if your potential colleges require them
- Narrow your list of colleges to 4 to 6. Make sure these are a right match for you. Just because a relative attended an Ivy League school, doesn’t mean it is a good fit for you.
- Visit the three schools at the top of your list (be sure to include SUNY). Schedule your visit in conjunction with a family vacation or when colleges are hosting events.
- Decide on whether you’ll apply as an Early Decision or Early Action candidate and begin preparing your application for admission. These deadlines are typically in early to mid-November of your senior year.
- Compose rough drafts of essays and ask your family, friends, and teachers to review your essays for grammar, punctuation, readability, and content
- Contact coaches, if applicable, and include your high school sports schedule and game tapes. Be sure to tell them why you are interested in their program and school.