JustStartApplications.com Releases College Checklist for High School Juniors

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High school juniors have a lot to think about as they prepare to apply to college. Today JustStartApplications.com releases a college preparatory checklist for high school juniors and their parents.


A college list should be varied, with several reach, medium and safety schools.

February may be a busy time academically, but it’s also time for high school Juniors to start thinking about those college applications. The summer between junior and senior year will be a busy one, and it’s important to be prepared before school ends. Here are just a few things high school juniors should be doing throughout February and beyond.

1. Register for AP Exams
First things first. High school juniors taking AP classes should make sure to register for AP exams ASAP so that the school AP coordinator can be sure to order all of the necessary materials and to collect fees. Doing well on AP exams will look great in a college application, and it just might lighten that freshman year load.

2. Make That List, Check it Twice
High school juniors that haven’t started a college checklist should get on it, stat. A college list should be varied, with several reach, medium and safety schools. Other factors to consider when making a college list will be location, size, and specialty.

3. Choose Classes for Next Year Wisely
Next year’s classes really matter. For senior year, students should choose classes that are challenging but still within their reach, as they will be balancing both extracurricular activities and all of the administrative workload that comes with applying to college.

4. Start Planning a College Tour for the Summer
While much information is available online, students just won’t get a good feel for schools until they visit. Summer is a perfect opportunity to do just that, as students will have extra time and families will enjoy the vacation. Most families prefer to group college tours regionally both for logistical reasons and because this allows them to compare schools side by side. Students and parents will get the most use out of their college tours if they prepare a list of questions ahead of time and arrange to meet one-on-one with someone from admissions as well as with a student.

Most schools will have all of the information a student and their family needs to know about tours available on their website.

5. Schedule SAT or ACT Test Date and Start Preparing
The SAT and ACT are only given a limited number of times per year. Students should book their spots well in advance, as well as any SAT subject tests they might be taking. They should also begin intensely preparing for the test date, and enroll in any test prep classes.

6. Approach Recommenders
While February may seem too early to approach recommenders, students who already have someone in mind shouldn’t hesitate to go for it. At the very least, the approach should be completed before the end of the school year to allow teachers time to write letters over the summer. Doing so will show teachers that the student respects their time. For more tips on securing recommendations, we suggest reading through this recommendation guide.

7. Keep Busy
Junior year is not the time to start winding down. As long as extracurricular activities don’t interfere with a student’s ability to perform in the classroom, students should ensure they will have a varied resume, keeping up with volunteer activities, sports and any passion projects they might have.

8. Contact College Counselors and Writing Coaches
College counselors and writing coaches fill up fast in the fall, and they’ll also have a greater effect the longer they have to work with a student. Contact counselors and coaches immediately to get the best results.

9. Start Thinking About Essay Topics
The essay is one of the most important parts of a student’s application. As many students struggle to find an essay that’s right for them, it’s best to start thinking about that college essay topic early. It’s also a good idea to start compiling activities onto a resume.

Junior year is a tough one for high school students. Families should give them maximum support, helping them with organizational and administrative hassles so that they can focus on the content of their applications. Now is really the time to gather materials, start strategizing, and get into gear.

Founded in 2009, the mission of JustStartApplications.com is to help students applying to college, graduate, medical and law school tell the kind of authentic, compelling stories that will get them into the programs of their choice. Headquartered in Austin, TX, Just Start Applications operates entirely online through Skype and Google Docs, providing access to expert writers and admissions coaches to anyone in the world at the click of a button.

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Leah Kaminsky
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