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11th Grade: College Application Process | Junior Year Timeline

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Staying Ahead of Your Applications | Component 2

In Part One of this post, we offered three big organizational tips to help juniors get started on their college app process . Now that you’ve gotten yourself organized, here are five key elements that every student should add to her timeline in the spring of the younger year of high school:

  1. Set up a gathering with your guidance counselor in January or Feb. You may not know him or her just yet, however your guidance counselor is a key player in getting your applications completed effectively on time. She’ll tell you what your own high school’s process and deadlines are for the application materials, assist you to research and identify appropriate schools, and may also help you decide who and when to ask for teacher recommendation characters. It’s also important to remember that for the majority of colleges, the guidance counselor is also responsible for writing you a letter of recommendation.   Open lines of communication with your guidance counselor can ensure all the pieces of your college applications arrive on time.
  2. Create your University List. Creating a college list requires a great deal of period and self-reflection. You’ll need to analysis schools and go to campuses , but it is essential to begin by identifying the criteria you’ll use to find the right schools for you. Consider when you’ll visit schools and how, create reservations with the admission office beforehand, and supplement those in-person trips with online research whenever a trip to campus isn’t possible.
  3. Plan your standardized testing schedule . Whether you choose to take the SAT, the ACT, SAT subject tests, APs, or all of the above, you will need to register in advance plus study hard for those tests. The majority of students will take their first exam between January and March and sit again between April plus June with the intention of being carried out with standardized testing before the end of junior year. If that strategy doesn’t work out, you can test in the drop. Tests taken in October or Nov can still make it to colleges in time for the majority of early applications.
  4. Maintain current grades plus activities. In order to finish your junior year using the strongest possible profile, it is critical to keep the calendar updated with all deadlines pertaining to big projects and exams in your classes, as well as important extracurricular events. Many of these can conflict with standardized testing dates, college visits, article writing, and other elements of your application. You don’t want your four many years of grades and activities to get the short end of the stick when programs start getting overwhelming—make sure you carve out time to keep your commitments.
  5. Finally, summarize your plan for the summer . Not only will be the summer a wonderful time to independently explore an academic interest or check out a possible future college major, it is also time to start working on your college article and applications! Colleges look for college students to use their summers productively, which is a final opportunity to show your stuff to colleges of interest before you put the pieces together in your application.

There are many ins and outs towards the college application process, but before you can take the subtle steps towards entrance success, you need to be sure you hit all of the big ones. With these five mileposts on your radar, you have a much better chance of making your junior year work for you.



Alexandra Santiago is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions experts . Prior to joining College Coach, Alex worked in admissions on University of Pennsylvania.

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