For high school juniors, college admission season is right around the corner and will be here before you know it. College applications that stand out from the pool of other applicants aren’t built in just a few weeks or months—you need to start to prepare and planf as early as possible. Here are a few things juniors should do now to create a successful college application in the not-so-distant future.
1. Review your testing plan
Standardized test scores are something that most colleges will review—unless you’re planning to apply to test-optional or test-blind schools. While many schools remain test-optional, selective schools like Georgetown University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Georgia Institute of Technology all require applicants to submit scores. Especially for very selective schools, your standardized test scores will matter. You may have to take the SAT or ACT multiple times to get the scores you want, so it’s best to start preparing now.
2. Concentrate on your academics
Admission officers will look at what classes you’re taking vs. what’s available to you at your high school. Did you challenge yourself? You don’t have to take every AP course available, but you should take at least a few honors and/or AP courses each year. You want to showcase to admission officers that you can handle the added rigor of college-level courses. Colleges will especially be looking at your grades from this year, so it’s important to put your full effort into your academics. Find a balance between your extracurriculars and academics for a well-rounded application.
3. Plan your summer wisely
The summer before senior year is one of your last chances to build your résumé. Attending competitive summer programs and getting hands-on experience can help students prove their interest in a certain field of study. You could also consider volunteering, job shadowing, or working on a passion project to enhance your résumé further. Remember, there’s no need to do every activity available to you. It’s better to build on your interests and add layers to your activities than join five new clubs this summer.