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college countdown: your college success starts here


Junior Year

Junior: Summer

Jump to Parent Timeline.


Should have done by now
  • Sign up for a challenging but manageable senior year.
  • Talk with your parents about how your college education will be paid for and how much you can afford to spend.
  • Plan how many times and when to take the SAT/ACT.

 boys reading outside

  • Finalize the colleges to which you will apply.
  • Take the SAT or ACT (typically during junior year, but at least once before the winter of senior year).
  • Decide if you will apply early admission to any schools.


Helpful, But Not Required
  • Brainstorm possible application essay topics you could use.
  • Check if any of the colleges you're applying to use the Common App.
  • Do something productive during the summer, such as volunteer work, internships, a part-time job, or summer classes.




For you to do
  • Think about how your child's college education will be paid for.
  • Determine your family's affordability threshold.
  • Talk with your child about how his or her college education will be paid for and your family's affordability threshold.
  • Research the financial aid process.
  • Log in to, download, or request a paper version of the FAFSA—you can start working on it anytime after July 1 and file anytime after January 1.
For you to help your student
  • Help your child with time management and organization.
  • 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 the SAT or ACT at least once before 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.