11th Grade Planning Guide
Junior year is here and now is when the real work begins! Expect this year to be one of the busiest years in the college application process. The key to staying on track this year will be to manage your time properly, pay attention to deadlines, and take good care of your physical and emotional health. Creating a college list with a calendar of the things you need to get done can potentially help you reduce anxiety and stress. This year can be overwhelming but remember the most important part of this year is to ask for help!
The tests are here! Last year you took the Pre-ACT and PSAT to get you prepared and now it’s time to ace the ACT and SAT. These tests are important because all U.S colleges will request one or both as part of their application requirements. Colleges use scores to award merit-based scholarships, so try to do your best. Make sure you prepare by looking at some of the areas that you scored low during your sophomore year. Taking long tests is very tiring, so make sure you are well-rested when you sit to take the test. Be on the lookout for dates and registration information.
Time to visit colleges! Last year you spent some time researching colleges and now it’s time to visit some of the ones at the top of your list. By doing college visits, you will be able to learn more about campus, classrooms, residence halls, food services, etc. Starting these visits early will help you feel less overwhelmed next year. Most college websites give you options to sign up for a tour online. Make sure you have some questions ready, connect with an admissions counselor, and ask to speak with professors, students, or coaches.
Start thinking about ways to finance college! Researching scholarships, grants, and financial aid opportunities in the colleges you’re interested in is very important. The key to getting financial assistance for college is to start early and apply to as many grants, scholarships, and other merit-based aid opportunities as possible. There are several options for financial aid, the most common being free federal aid (FAFSA), federal and state grants, and scholarships. Talk to your school counselor for more information about these options.
Keep being involved! Make some time to balance in-and-out-of-school activities. This will promote personal growth and give you information to start building your resume. Your involvement in extracurricular activities will show college admissions counselors your engagement, work ethic, time-management skill, and other characteristics of being a well-rounded student. Do not forget to get involved in diverse activities, including volunteering!
Build your Resume! Most college applications will ask you to include a resume. This document highlights your best qualities and includes all your academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities, work experience, and awards and honors throughout your high school career. While you work on your resume it is beneficial that you start thinking about which teachers would be willing to write letters of recommendation for you. Choosing teachers who have a good relationship with you and know your strengths is very important. Make sure you ask them politely and with time in advance!