|Consider signing up for the PSAT 8/9 in the fall. While taking the PSAT 8/9 isn’t necessary, it gives you experience with standardized testing and an official score report that can guide your future studying.
|Create a college-friendly email address. Create a new email account using your first and last name and graduation date (e.g., JaneSmith2024@email.com). Then use it exclusively for college-related communications, like test scores, scholarships, and marketing materials from colleges.
|Create a college binder. Start saving and documenting things that will be useful for college and scholarship applications, like transcripts, community service hours (including dates and contact information), letters of recommendation, and usernames and passwords.
|Introduce yourself to your school counselor and your college and career center counselor. You’ll need their help often over the next few years. Check in with them regularly to ensure you’re making college-ready decisions.
|Apply for scholarships. Plenty of scholarships are available for high school students of any grade level. Talk to your guidance counselor for suggestions. Start applying to some now!
|Create a MyACT Profile and a College Board (SAT) account. Even if you’re not ready to take the ACT or SAT yet, creating these accounts will ensure you get reminders about upcoming tests and useful college and career planning strategies.
|Take a personality assessment. Learn more about your strengths, opportunities for improvement, preferred learning styles, and strategies for approaching challenges. See if your school offers assessments like the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) or YouScience, or find a free one online.
|Get involved in your school and community. Try something new and join some clubs or sports. You never know where you might find a new passion or hobby — or even a lead on a potential major or career.
|Add ACT and SAT dates (and registration deadlines) to your calendar. Think about which ones you’ll want to take. Consider opting out of sending your scores to specific colleges when you register; instead, you may want to see your scores before you decide to send them.
|Set your priorities. Junior year is busy, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you’re feeling stressed, sit down with someone and walk through your obligations, set priorities, and make a plan for getting things done. This is a skill you’ll rely on in college, so practice it now!
|Sign up to take the PSAT/NSMQT in October. This test qualifies juniors for the National Merit Scholarship. If you’re aiming for a high score and potential scholarship opportunities, start (or keep) prepping.
|Attend college visits on your high school campus. Meet college reps when they visit your high school and talk with them about what they’re looking for in a student and what they can offer you.
|Check your applicant portals regularly. Most colleges will ask for missing items (e.g., test scores, recommendations, transcripts), provide updates on your decision status, and deliver other important updates via their applicant portals.
|Complete the FAFSA and CSS Profile, if applicable. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) lets you apply for federal student aid, including federal grants, work-study funds, and loans. Some schools also use the CSS Profile to award nonfederal institutional aid. Both applications open Oct. 1.
|Keep prepping for (and taking) the ACT or SAT. Improving your score could make you eligible for increased merit scholarships and could boost your chances of acceptance.
|Ask for feedback on your applications before you submit them. Ask a parent, teacher, counselor, or friend to review your applications, essays, and resume. They may see things you’ve missed or mistakes to be corrected.