You are finally old enough to drive on your own but there is still a lot of time ahead of you before you pack up all your stuff and leave for college. Until that time comes, there is a lot of preparation that you need to do as a junior in high school.
Sure, by now you have figured out what high school is all about, but it is time for you to start taking more actions towards getting into the college of your dreams. Here is a list of five things you definitely should do as a junior in high school to prepare yourself for college.
1. Take on Heavier Course Loads
Your course load and the subjects that you are taking during your junior year may be the most important ones out of all four years of high school. These are the grades that the college admission boards focus on heavily, especially if you are applying for early decision/early admission. Take challenging AP and honors classes that you know you can succeed in to show the admissions board your academic capabilities. Do not take higher-level courses if you believe that they will be detrimental to your GPA. If you can overcome these difficult classes, however, admission boards will applaud you for your effort.
2. Visit Colleges
Next year, you are you going to start sending out numerous college applications. The average cost of one college application is around $70 and if you send more than one, those costs can add up quickly. In order to help you narrow down your choices, it is a great idea for you to visit colleges where you may want to apply. Almost all colleges offer some sort of guided tour for potential students and parents and/or you can freely walk around the campuses by yourself. Visiting college campuses can really help you get a feel for what it would be like to go to a college by the surrounding environment and current students.
3. Ace the SAT or the ACT
I cannot emphasize enough how important your test scores will be when you apply for college. Besides your GPA, college admission boards depend heavily on your standardized test scores to compare your level of capability and preparation with those of other students nationwide, and even worldwide for some colleges. Hire a private tutor, take preparatory classes, or practice the test on your own to get your scores as high as possible.
4. Take on Leadership Roles
College admission is so competitive these days that having extracurricular activities in your resume is simply not enough. What these admissions officers are looking for are students who are leaders. Even if you were just leading one fundraising activity for a club where you do not hold a leadership role, you will show that you have the potential to lead your peers. Don’t just get involved in an extracurricular activity. Take the lead!
5. Do Something Meaningful with Your Summer
This is the only “down-time” that you are going to have before you send off your college applications, so do something amazing with it. Sure, it would be nice to go on long beach trips with your friends and family, but take the initiative to do something that you could potentially write about for your college admission essay. For instance, why not take a study abroad trip to enhance your second language skills or volunteer at a nearby hospital if you are interested in the medical field? Whatever it is that you do, keep in mind that one summer could totally change your chances of getting into the college of your dreams.