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college countdown: your college success starts here


Junior Year

Junior: Fall

Jump to Parent Timeline.


Should have done by now
Things to do in fall of your junior year to apply to college
  • Register for the PSAT if you plan to take it.
  • Sign up for a challenging but manageable junior year.
  • Plan how many times and when to take the SAT/ACT.
  • Talk with your parents about how your college education will be paid for and how much you can afford to spend.


  • Take high school seriously. College admissions officers look at your transcript and GPA.
  • Plan your senior classes.
  • Finalize the colleges to which you will apply (best to create this list before the fall of senior year).
  • Take the SAT/ACT (typically during junior year, but at least once before the winter of senior year).


Helpful, But Not Required
  • Download applications for colleges that interest you—you'll get an early look at potential essay questions.
  • Brainstorm possible essay questions.
  • Contact military academies now if you plan on applying. The application process starts earlier, and you may need to secure a nomination from a local member of Congress.




For you to do
  • Establish a relationship with your child's counselor.
  • Think about how your child's college education will be paid for.
  • Determine your family's affordability threshold.
  • Go to any junior college nights or events offered by your child's school.
  • Talk with your child about how his or her college education will be paid for and your family's affordability threshold.
For you to help your student
  • Help your child with time management and organization.
  • Make sure child has a quiet place to study without distraction.
  • Research colleges that interest your child.
  • Schedule and go on college visits with your child.
  • Talk with your child about SAT or ACT test prep.
  • Make sure your child registers for and takes the SAT or ACT at least once before the winter of senior year.

Ongoing Tasks
- Review and update your academic plan; take challenging courses.
- Work hard to get good grades.
- Save a few examples of your best work (essays, projects, etc.)
- Keep an updated resume.
- Stay involved in extracurricular activities.
- Explore potential career options: talk to people, check the Internet, job shadow, etc.
- Prepare for standardized tests.
- Search for scholarships.
- Visit colleges of interest.

- Keep an ongoing list of colleges that interest you.

- Maintain relationships with your teachers and your counselor.
- Talk with college students about their experiences.
- Keep and organize any college and career information you think is important.