Weekly College Column

Junior Month by Month Timeline

Reality is kicking in at the beginning of the junior year. You’re seeing your senior friends in a bit of a frenzy and you can avoid some of that stress if you follow the items listed in the timeline below.

Junior Year—Begin college selection process. Attend college fairs, financial aid seminars, and general information sessions to learn as much as you can about the college application process. Make sure you are meeting NCAA requirements if you want to play Division I or II sports in college.


• Consider prepping for the October PSAT. It is the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test
• Continue to save samples of your best work for your academic portfolio (all year).

• Use any Teacher Work Days in the fall for campus visits


• Take the PSAT. Your PSAT scores may qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Competition and the National Achievement and the National Hispanic Scholars Programs. If you wish to receive free information from colleges, indicate on the PSAT test answer form that you want to participate in the Student Search.


• Study. Many college advisors tell their students that junior year is the most important and the one looked at most closely by admissions offices. Junior year grades are extremely important in the college admissions process because they are a measure of how well you do in advanced, upper-level courses. Grades also are used to determine scholarships and grants for which you may be eligible. So, put in the extra effort and keep those grades up!
• Start researching your options for grants, scholarships and work-study programs. Make an appointment with your guidance counselor or do research on your own.


•  Read your score report from the October PSAT. Consult your school counselor to determine how you might improve on future standardized tests.
• Put together your initial list of colleges and begin researching them online.


• Review your list of colleges that you would like to investigate further and research colleges to determine if they are a good academic and social fit for you. Continue your research of specific colleges
• Make sure your list is balanced with Reach/Target and Safety schools.
• Make arrangements to visit colleges over Spring Break


• Meet with your guidance counselor to discuss your list of colleges.
• Investigate summer opportunities (summer programs on college campuses, job-shadowing or internship possibilities, work, travel, community service, etc. Colleges love to see students using their knowledge and developing their skills and interests.
• Select your courses for senior year. Make sure you maintain or increase the rigor of your schedule. Beware of dropping core subject courses (Math, English, History, Science, or Foreign Language).


• Visit colleges over Spring Break – This is the optimum time to visit, (make sure it is not Spring Break at the college), because you’ll have the opportunity to see a college in action, with everything from acapella groups performing to eating real dining hall food. It’s also the right time chronologically for the student since by the end of the junior year they should be pretty set on their final college list.
• Contact colleges to request additional admission literature and financial aid information. There is no charge and no obligation to obtain general information about admission and financial aid.

• Attend a college fair to get more information about colleges on your list. NACAC sponsors college fairs in cities across the country during the fall and the spring. Visit NACAC’s Web site (www.nacacnet.org) to check out the schedule. There are also Performing and Visual Arts College Fairs.

April & May

• Register for the May/June Testing (SAT or ACT)
• Continue to evaluate your list of colleges and universities. Eliminate colleges from the original list that no longer interest you and add others, as appropriate.
• Take the SAT or ACT.
• Ask Junior teachers to commit to writing your letters of recommendation either over the summer or in the fall.
• Finalize your brag sheet (resume)

June – July – August

• After school ends, get on the road to visit colleges.
• Register for the summer testing (SAT/ACT) or the September ACT or the October SAT

Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte. Send questions to: lee@bierercollegeconsulting.comwww.bierercollegeconsulting.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *