Back-To-School Checklist for Juniors

For Juniors headed back to school, their first year as upperclassmen brings with it a to-do list to start the college application process.

Here are some tips from College Board – the company behind the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, and AP Tests – for how to prepare this fall to keep your stress to a minimum and improve your chances of getting into your dream school.

• Start to determine what you want to study and do in college. Assess your abilities, your personality, and your preferences. Get to know yourself and what curriculum and social/cultural requirements you’ll have for your future school.

• Start (or continue) doing college research. You might have had your dream school in mind since you were five. Or you might be just starting to consider school now. Talk to others their experiences. Start researching schools’ websites. College Board has a great listing as a starting point.

• See how your school can help. Meet the available counselors. See if there’s a College Night coming up. Sign up when college recruiters visit your campus.

• Sign up for the PSAT/NMSQT® (it’s given in October). If you plan to ask for testing accommodations (because of a disability), be sure the College Board has approved your eligibility.

• Get organized. Find a good way to organize all of your research, and if you’re planning to study a subject that requires a portfolio, start planning that now.

• Estimate your financial aid need. Use the College Board’s Getting Financial Aid and the financial aid calculator to estimate how much aid you might receive.

And start planning when you’ll take your first SAT or ACT. In some cases (like if you’re recruited for athletics), you’ll need to hit your target score by the end of your junior year. Leave yourself enough time to take the test multiple times if you need to improve your score. And, of course, be sure to order your Testing Timers watch in time for test prep so you can make the most of your efforts!