May is a key time of year for highly school juniors. Proactive college planning will empower their senior year college application process. Below we provide key testing, summer planning, counseling, and college visiting tips.
1. Test Readiness
Juniors are lucky to be the last current SAT test takers. Students do better and better on tests if they do full length practice sessions. Remember, they can take each test—SAT, SAT Subject Test, and ACT—twice for free with fee waivers. They can find free online and in person sites to do practice tests. Please don’t forget upcoming deadlines and recommendations. Here is a current site with all testing requirements: http://www.compassprep.com/subject-test-requirements-and-recommendations/.
Below are specific requirements for several major tests.
– May 8 is the registration date for the June 6 SAT: http://sat.collegeboard.com/register/sat-dates
- SAT Subject Tests
– May 8 is the registration date for the June 6 SAT Subject Tests. Students can take three Subject Tests per test date.
– Many colleges no longer require them, but good scores can only help.
– Take US History, Math 2, and Literature. There are several other choices.
– May 8 is the deadline for the June 13 ACT: http://www.actstudent.org/regist/dates.html
- AP Tests:
– AP test takes should do their very best.
– If they don’t like how they do, they can cancel their scores by June 15. http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/ap/ap-score-cancellation-form.pdf
2. Finalize Summer Plans
Colleges expect rising seniors to use their summers productively and meaningfully.
- It is not too late to find internships, jobs, and service opportunities.
- Students can also use the summer to make up failed or missing classes and even move forward by taking electives at community colleges or local colleges.
3. Meet with School Counselors and Teachers
Juniors and their families should meet with school-based counselors/college counselors before the school year ends. They should also pick the two junior year teachers they plan to ask to write letters of recommendation as most colleges prefer junior teachers. Students should:
- Go over current list of colleges.
- Learn about resources on Naviance and/or other school resources.
- Complete required brag sheets with great attention to leadership and initiative.
- Find schools that offer merit scholarships and begin research external scholarships.
- Ask teachers about their process for writing letters of recommendation. Get contact info for any teachers who are leaving the school.
4. Research and Visit Colleges In Person and Virtually
May is a great time to visit colleges as well as attend local and virtual college fairs and presentations. Colleges increasingly count demonstrated interest as a key part of their admissions consideration.
- Attend local college fairs. NACAC colleges are traveling around the country as well as colleges and groups of colleges. http://www.nacacnet.org/college-fairs/Pages/default.aspx
- Sign up for College Week Live free events. This free site offers monthly online college information fairs and frequent college info sessions. May 21 is the next All College Day. http://www.collegeweeklive.com/
- Sign up for Princeton Review’s college major finder. It sends you lists of colleges that match your major interests. http://www.princetonreview.com/college-education
- Buy great college information books from The Fiske Guide to The College Finder by Steven Antonoff, which list colleges by a million interests, topics, and themes.
- First generation college goers and other underrepresented students can join I’m First http://www.imfirst.org/sign-up/. It will connect you with colleges that seek and support first generation students. College Greenlight is another great site that also shows school specific scholarships for diverse students. https://www.collegegreenlight.com/
- Visit at least one college in their area in the next couple of weeks. Colleges are wrapping up but juniors can see many of them before they finish up the school year.
- Go on a tour and attend an information session.
- Speak with students.
- Arrange for interviews.
- Find out about scholarships and special programs for first generation students or student with specialized interests.
By Rebecca Joseph