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November Checklist: College Admissions Preparation for High School Juniors

Preparing for college admissions as a high school junior doesn’t have to be overwhelming. November is the perfect time to start laying the groundwork for a successful college application process. Here’s a focused checklist for high school juniors:

  • Research Potential Colleges: Start by compiling a list of colleges you might be interested in. Consider factors such as location, size, majors offered, extracurricular activities, and financial aid availability.

  • Visit College Campuses: If possible, visit some campuses to get a feel for the environment. Virtual tours can also be a helpful resource if physical visits aren’t feasible.

  • Take Practice SAT/ACT Tests: Begin taking practice tests if you haven’t already. This will help identify areas where you need to improve before the actual exams.

  • Focus on Academic Excellence: Continue to work hard in your classes. Junior year grades are extremely important because they are the most recent grades colleges will see when you apply.

  • Engage in Meaningful Extracurricular Activities: Colleges look for well-rounded students. Engage in activities that interest you and show commitment and leadership.

  • Start Drafting a College Resume: List your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and jobs.

  • Build Relationships with Teachers: Cultivate good relationships with teachers for future recommendation letters. Engage in class and demonstrate your interest and commitment to your education.

  • Explore Scholarships: Begin searching for scholarships and note down deadlines and requirements.

  • Attend College Fairs: Take advantage of college fairs, both in-person and virtual, to gather information and make connections with college representatives.

  • Set Up a College Admissions Calendar: Keep track of all important dates and deadlines related to college admissions and standardized tests.

  • Begin Learning About Financial Aid: Understand the basics of financial aid, including the difference between grants, loans, and scholarships. Familiarize yourself with the FAFSA and CSS Profile.

  • Discuss College Plans with Your Family: Openly discuss your thoughts and concerns about college with your family. It’s important to have their support and to understand the financial implications together.

  • Stay Organized: Keep all college-related information in one place. This includes login information for the Common App, test scores, and communication from colleges.

Remember, the college admissions process is a marathon, not a sprint. Start early, stay focused, and use your time wisely. November is just the beginning, and you’re already on the right track by planning ahead.

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