11th Grade Checklist: How to Prepare for College as a Junior

SUMMER:

  • Meet your guidance counselor
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities
  • Consider a college savings plan and add to an existing one if you have already have one started
  • Getting involved: Continue to build your credentials- Keep track of your extracurricular awards, community service achievements, and anything else you participate in
  • Create your resume
  • Begin getting ready for the ACT
  • Stay on track with your courses: Talk with your guidance counselor to make sure you’re enrolled in the classes you need to prepare you for college or a career
  • Explore your career options in more detail: “Job shadow” someone who does what you think you’d like to do
  • Volunteer in your community
  • Start your college search

FALL:

  • Decide if you want to take the SAT or ACT
  • Take the PSAT (study for a month before. Getting a great PSAT score can lead to scholarships)
  • Stay on track with your classes and grades
  • Make a list of potential colleges you would like to attend
  • Make sure your resume is up-to-date and continue updating it throughout the year
  • Create a document of any awards and involvements to use in the future
  • Evaluate education options: vocational-technical school, career college, or two-year or four-year college, military college
  • Discuss careers and which majors can lead there
  • Gather college information: Attend college fairs, college nights and speak to representatives from colleges that attend your high school
  • Begin planning campus visits
  • Mark the dates on a calendar for upcoming tests: SAT, ACT, and AP exams
  • Continue involvement in extracurricular and volunteer activities and seek leadership roles
  • Continue building relationships with your teachers as 11th grade teachers are the ones that you will most likely ask for letters of recommendation
  • Read as much as possible: Expand your outside reading list

WINTER:

  • Stay involved with extracurricular activities
  • Study for the ACT/SAT
  • Getting involved: Holidays and winter break are great times to volunteer
  • Organize your college information
  • Start narrowing down your college choices: if you haven’t already start planning some college visits
  • Note merit scholarship requirements for these colleges
  • Continue discussing careers and corresponding majors
  • Shadow career fields
  • Prepare for standardized tests: research the test requirements of the colleges you wish to attend (SAT, ACT, or SAT Subject Tests) and register for the tests
  • Learn more about financial aid
  • Apply for scholarships: find scholarships with little competition but can fund a free ride
  • Start planning for a productive summer: Check on internship deadlines

SPRING:

  • Getting involved: Some schools allow new members to join after winter break
  • Prepare your class schedule for senior year: stick with a schedule that challenges you versus all easy classes/meet with your school counselor to discuss your options
  • Consider ways to earn college credit via Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, CLEP, or Dual Enrollment courses
  • Continue your scholarship search and apply: find scholarships with little competition BUT will fund a free ride
  • Contact your letter of recommendation writers: employer, coach, activity leader, or adult who knows you well outside of school
  • Check for local scholarships in the guidance office before school year ends
  • Apply for a summer internship or job
  • Set up appointments at your top college choices including a personal interview, tour of the campus and meet with a professor/coach

SUMMER:

  • Visit Colleges: Visit the top 5 campuses on your list
  • Work a summer job to gain experience, build a resume, and save money for college
  • Maximize summer to build competitiveness
  • Talk to others about their experience in college especially if the student is attending a college on your list
  • Organize your financial aid information
  • Start working on your college application essays: Have a teacher read and discuss the essays with you
  • Continue to pursue scholarship opportunities and apply! Doing so over the summer means you can have materials ready to reuse for senior year!
  • Letters of Recommendation: Request these letters with at least a 2-week notice
  • Develop a strong personal statement for scholarships
  • Retake the SAT/ACT to improve score
  • Finalize personal statement based on junior year
  • Write down all deadlines for FAFSA, admissions applications and scholarships (including state-based and merit-based scholarships)

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