Calling all families with high school juniors: the smartest thing you can do related to the college admissions process is not procrastinate. The good news is that if you haven’t done very much yet, it’s not too late.
Here’s a primer on what you should be thinking about over the next several months:
Review your PSAT results.
Sign up to take the ACT or the SAT early this spring. Consider registering for both so you can determine which is the best test for you.
Take free online practice tests for both the SAT and ACT. ( www.number2.com).
Compare your scores. ( www.act.org – type “concordance” in search box).
Register and study for AP tests and SAT subject tests, if appropriate.
Make an appointment with your guidance counselor and discuss your current college list.
Stay focused on your academics – if you anticipate applying early action or early decision, your grades from junior year will be the most recent grades seen by colleges.
Continue to stay involved in extracurricular activities.
Review your senior course options. Be sure not to lighten your load. You don’t want to have the appearance of not taking your senior year seriously.
Attend college nights and financial aid presentations at your high school.
Research, research and research colleges of interest.
Take an online college assessment to create your first college list. Talk with family about financial expectations, possible majors, pros and cons of large and small campuses, different locations, etc.
Create an initial list of at least three “reach,” three “target” schools and three “safety” schools.
Check out the online syllabus at each college’s website and evaluate different academic majors. With a little digging you can find out the number of courses, number of professors and frequently the number of students with that major.
Explore college online through virtual tours ( www.campuscompare.com).
Read blogs from administrators, high school students and current college students ( http://talk.collegeconfident ial.com ).
Attend the college fair in your area.
Drive by local campuses to get a sense of the size and scope of small, mid-size and large campuses.
Schedule visits for long weekends, teacher workdays and spring break.
Attend the information session and campus tour and spend time on each campus.
Sit in on a class; schedule a meeting with a coach or professor.
Eat in the dining hall; visit a residence hall not on the tour.
Try to arrange a meeting with a member of the Admissions staff if you are fairly certain the college will make it the final list.
Identify something special to do this summer.
Focus on your passions and begin research for summer enrichment programs, internships or job-shadowing.
Think about creating your own business or non-profit organization.
Create a filing system for college materials, lists of your activities and accomplishments, test scores, etc.
Lee Bierer is an independent college adviser in Charlotte. Questions: email@example.com.
Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/02/01/2026176/juniors-dont-procrastinate.html#ixzz1CkJXWZCJ