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Junior Year Planning Process

September/October

Focus on getting organized for your college search.

  1. Attend the PROBE College Fair. This is a fine opportunity for you to ask questions about majors, student life, and admission criteria.
  2. Set up an electronic file system to hold your web research on colleges. This will also come in handy when you begin to receive emails from colleges that you would like to save. When we begin working on your activities resume and college essays, you can save these here as well.
  3. Organize a way to hold hard copy information about colleges that you want to save (i.e. handouts from Christian Heritage college planning workshops, your test scores, transcript, information sent to you by colleges, etc.). Some students find it helps to organize this in a three-ring binder with plastic sheets to hold important documents you don’t want to punch holes into. Others find that an accordion folder or even separate files in a drawer of a file cabinet work for them.
  4. Create an email address just for colleges that is more “professional” than your current personal one.
  5. Use the time given in your English and math courses to prepare well for the PSAT. Be sure to read over the instructions for this test so that you will understand what is covered in this exam and how the exam is administered. Remember, the competition for National Merit and National Achievement Scholarships are based on the PSAT score you receive junior year.
  6. Use your fall break to visit college campuses. This long weekend gives you a great opportunity to travel a bit farther from home to see colleges that interest you. If you need help thinking about appropriate questions to ask during your visit, contact Mrs. Poag.
  7. Check out which colleges are sending representatives to Christian Heritage School to visit with students. Sign up to meet with a college representative with Mrs. Poag. Be sure to let your teacher know if you will be missing class to meet with the representative.
  8. Attend “College Planning in the Junior Year” session taught by the college counselors this month. Encourage your parents to attend the evening program of this same name designed to help them support you in your college planning.

November

Focus on getting registered for the ACT and/or SAT.

  1. Take a look at the test schedule for both the ACT and SAT. We recommend that juniors take the ACT at least once and the SAT twice in their junior year. Based on your schedule with your academic commitments and outside activities, when is the best time for you to take these exams? You may register for these exams online.
  2. Participate in Junior Advisory College Planning exercises with Mrs. Poag.
  3. Look back over the results of the Learning Styles Inventory that you took in freshmen year and the Career Interest Inventory that you took in sophomore year (results from both inventories are on Family Connection). Do the results of these two inventories still ring true for you? How are the results the same or different for you now that you are a junior? Take the Do What You Are inventory this month in the college planning class to learn how your interests line up with careers, majors, and colleges that offer those majors.
  4. Update your four-year academic and activities plan. Put the courses you completed sophomore year on the plan and add the extracurricular activities you were involved in last school year and throughout the summer. Now put your junior courses on this plan and decide which activities you would like to continue or begin in your junior year. Your college counselor has a copy of this plan if you have misplaced your copy.
  5. Check out which colleges are sending representatives to Christian Heritage School to visit with students.  Sign up to meet with a college representative online. Be sure to let your teacher know if you will be missing class to meet with the representative. This is a great way to determine if a college matches enough of your interests and goals to plan a special trip to visit the campus.
  6. Use your free time to do some constructive research about colleges on the web. Use search programs on www.collegeboard.org, www.petersons.com, etc. or Google a specific college. Save your research in your college planning electronic files.

December

Focus on preparing for your first semester exams.

  1. Encourage your parents to attend the evening program    “Funding a College Education.” This program will be presented by a GaCollege 411 financial aid and scholarship officers and will discuss all the ways for families to access funding for college
  2. Junior year academic performance is extremely important in the college admission process. Put forth extra effort and keep up those grades! (or turn things around and establish your best record ever). Prepare carefully, thoughtfully, and thoroughly for your first semester exams.
  3. An appointment will be scheduled for you in January after the winter holiday to meet with your college counselor. Mrs. Poag will arrange the appointment with you.
  4. Register for the January SAT, if you think that the Question and Answer Service would be of value to you (this date can be too early for some high school juniors). Register at http://www.collegeboard.org/.
  5. Enjoy your vacation from school. If your family takes a trip, stop to visit a college campus that you find near your driving route.

January

Focus on meeting with your college counselor.

  1. Your college counselor will begin meeting with juniors individually this month. In this session we will discuss your course selection for senior year, as well as the factors and criteria you are considering in your first look at colleges.
  2. Reflect on what you really want to get out of your college experience. What do you imagine your college experience will be like? What barriers do you face in achieving your goals? What do you hope to gain from four or more years of education and learning?
  3. Attend the Researching College workshop scheduled this month. Mrs. Poag will present best practice tips for researching colleges, planning college visits, and planning for summer opportunities.
  4. Junior Advisory Period –  Mrs. Poag will present several programs: gap year programs, preparing for competitive scholarships, military academies/ROTC, and the recruiting process for visual/performing arts majors. She will also go over PSAT results!
  5. Update on your activities resume. Consider if there are still clubs or activities that you would like to be involved with this year.
  6. Begin to make a preliminary list of colleges you would like to investigate further. Use the web to help with this process. Use both electronic and hard copy organizational systems to highlight the information that you gather and your opinions about the colleges.
  7. Use information on standardized tests to design a plan for taking the ACT and SAT. Then register online for the appropriate tests. Talk to Mrs. Poag if you are not sure when you should schedule these tests.
  8. Visit colleges. Call ahead and schedule a campus tour and information session. Go when students are on campus, if possible. Attend Open House events on college campuses. Check out individual college websites for dates of open house events. Be sure to have “Request for Planned Absence” completed and on file 5 days prior to leaving. When you return to campus, bring the Upper School Attendance Secretary evidence of your visit to a college with either a note on letterhead or a signature on the back of an admission counselor’s business card. Write a few notes about what you liked, disliked, and what additional information you may need to know about the college.
  9. Use your “new” e-mail address when corresponding with colleges. This formal e-mail address is more impressive to colleges than some of the more informal e-mail addresses you might use on your personal account.
  10. Think about what you might be interested in doing this summer. Explore summer opportunities and begin to plan a camp, leadership experience, job, internship, etc. No summer is as important in the college admissions process as the summer before Senior year!
  11. Begin your second semester courses with renewed enthusiasm and determination.

February

  1.  “Fine tune” your activities resume after meeting with your counselor.
  2. If you are interested in competing in intercollegiate athletics, let your counselor know. Set up a meeting with your coach to discuss your playing level and the approach you should take in letting college coaches know of your interest. Register as a prospective athlete with the NCAA Eligibility Center if you are planning to compete on the Division I or Division II level.
  3. Match your interests and needs with colleges by experimenting with various internet sites and college search engines. Use the hand-out on web resources to choose additional internet sites.
  4. If colleges and universities in the Midwest and/or the Northeast are in your thoughts, you may wish to visit these campuses in February or March. This serves as a good reality check for weather wimps. Don’t forget to write down your impressions.
  5. Continue to concentrate on your schoolwork and those activities that are important to you.
  6. Attend the college planning meeting scheduled this month. The college counselors will ask you to focus on completing and understanding the parts of the college application.

March

Focus on continuing your research and begin to look at scholarship opportunities.

  1. Check the test schedule for ACT and SAT one more time and do what you need to do to be sure you have taken the SAT at least two times and the ACT one time before the end of your junior year.
  2. If any of the colleges you are considering require or encourage you to take SAT II Subject exams, decide if you want to take them in May/June or in the fall of your senior year. Deadlines for the May/June tests are the same as for the SAT I test dates. Go to www.collegeboard.com for test dates and registration information.
  3. You have one more quarter of your junior year to do your best work!
  4. Junior Advisory – Securing letters of recommendations, college research, the college application, and more!
  5. Visit colleges. Write your impressions of your college visit as you leave campus. Invite your parents to come along. Try to go when classes are in session so you can see students as they go about their daily lives. Ask current students why they chose that college. Listen to admission counselors and take tours. Consider a request to sit in on a class or spend the weekend with a student. Ask Mrs. Poag if any Christian Heritage alumni attend colleges where you plan to visit. Try to meet with alumni to talk about what they like about their college choice.
  6. If you’re thinking about applying to one of the military academies, now is the time to begin your research about what is required for their admission process. Consider attending a summer program at one of the academies. Write letters that explain your interest to your representatives or senators.
  7. Use your counselor, your parents, and the Internet to generate initial lists of colleges that might fit your interests. Visit colleges by exploring their websites.
  8. Research your scholarship and grant options. Use the hand-out on web resources that was given to you in September to learn more about financing a college education and how to find scholarships. Check with each college you visit to find out their procedure for applying for scholarships.
  9. If any of your colleges require or encourage you to take SAT II Subject Exams, consider whether you want to take them in May/June or in the fall of your senior year. Register for the appropriate tests.
  10. Finalize your plans for the summer. Submit appropriate applications or make the necessary phone calls to participate in summer activities and opportunities.
  11. Do you have anything posted on Facebook or YouTube that might be embarrassing if seen by a college representative or a potential college roommate? These social networking sites are great ways to meet people who attend or work at colleges you may be considering, but be sure the impression you are giving these new and important contacts is the impression you want to give.

April

Focus on updating your college counselor about your ideas and plans.

  1. Have you spoken with your college counselor lately about your ideas and plans? Conversations improve the process immensely.
  2. Think about using this month (before the busy month of May and final exams) to complete and give to your counselor the following documents: Junior Questionnaires 1a and 2a and your activities resume. We strongly encourage you to complete a draft copy of the Common Application www.commonapp.org for practice and to write a rough draft response to one of the essay questions on this application. You should ask one teacher before the end of the school year to be your recommender for the admission process next fall.
  3. If they have not done so yet, encourage your parents to complete the “Parent Questionnaire” and submit it before the end of the school year.
  4. If you are taking the ACT, the SAT I Reasoning Test or the SAT II Subject Tests in June, register before the May deadline.
  5. Gather all the wisdom that you can from the graduating class before they leave. They understand where you are and where you are heading.
  6. Continue to explore and visit. Ask questions, questions, and more questions.
  7. If you are interested in competing in intercollegiate athletics on the D I or D II level, make sure to register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. Let your college counselor know when you have done this.

May

Focus on turning in all required questionnaires, forms, and documents to your college counselor.

  1. Get fired up for the end of the year. Exams are just around the corner.
  2. If you are planning to take the ACT or SAT in June, the late registration deadlines are in May.
  3. Consider what standardized tests, if any, you may need to take in the fall of your senior year. Register for those tests this month.
  4. Consider which of your teachers you will ask to write a letter of recommendation for your college applications. Before the end of the school year, approach one teacher, who knows you well, and ask him/her if they would write a letter advocating for you. If a teacher agrees to write a letter of recommendation for you and has requested that you give them additional information (i.e. reflection on the course you took with them or an activities resume) before the end of the school year, prepare to send this information to your teacher by the last day of school.
  5. Make final arrangements for your summer plans.
  6. Download any electronic files you created for college planning on your laptop to a flash drive or CD. When they clean out the hard drives over the summer, you don’t want to lose your activities resume, essays, or college research and correspondence.
  7. AP exams this month are from May 6-15.
  8. Final exams are the last weeks of May.

June

Focus on enjoying the freedom that comes with summer.

  1. Relax! Summer has arrived and you deserve a rest.
  2. Are you planning to play sports on the intercollegiate level in college? Did you register at the NCAA Eligibility Center? Let your college counselor know no later than June 15.

July

Focus on summer fun. Do some college research this month.

  1. Enjoy your summer! Assure your parents that you are doing everything you are supposed to be doing for your college search.
  2. During your free time, continue to research colleges using the internet. Continue to fine tune your list of colleges.
  3. Visit colleges. Keep taking notes and putting them in your binder or in an electronic file. Review your notes and look for the common thread of what you liked on all the campuses you have visited this year. What colleges seem to fit your needs, interests, and goals?
  4. Familiarize yourself with the scholarship process. Use the web resources handout that was given to you in September at the college planning meeting  to locate scholarship internet sites. Most scholarships hold their selection process in the same months each year. The actual deadline date may vary, but the time of year for the scholarship rarely changes. Make notations on a calendar for particular scholarships you are interested in; note when to look for the updated scholarship application and whether this scholarship requires a nomination from a school official.
  5. Check out your Facebook or YouTube sites. Do they need some sprucing up? Now is the time to present your best self on these sites before you submit your first application.

August

Focus on the excitement that comes with senior year and begin organizing yourself for the college application season.

  1. Visit colleges. Look at the list of colleges you completed in May. Determine if you need to add or eliminate schools from this list. Decide if the criteria you used to create this list matches what you want to gain from your college education. Consider putting schools on your list that fall into the three different categories: safety, match, and reach.
  2. When you have decided what colleges to keep on your list, check online to see if the application for the fall is available yet. Some information will be available this early, but some will not. If your applications are ready, you can begin thinking about your responses to the essay questions. Do not panic if your applications are not ready. The earliest application deadlines are usually October 1, 15, or November 1 – these are generally deadlines for early decision and early action applicants – there is still plenty of time to apply to colleges after these dates.
  3. Talk with your parents. Share your thoughts about the colleges on your list.
  4. If you are planning to take the September ACT, the deadline for this test is in early August.
  5. Update your activities resume. Include your summer activities and any activities you intend to pursue during your senior year.
  6. Attend the “Senior College Kickoff” workshop with your parents in August or September. This will give you all the information you will need to understand the application process.
  7. Set up a time to meet with Mrs. Poag after school begins. She is here to help you with your final list of colleges and help you organize your application process.

Enter your senior year with gladness and joy.
You are now bringing closure to what you began many years ago!