College Planning for High School Juniors

School is back in session and that means for many high school juniors, the thought of college isn’t far behind. So what can you do to get ready for the collegiate grind? Here are a few tips to get you on the right track and plan for college as a high school junior.

Game Plan
Before anything else, its important to set some time apart to outline your game plan. What do you want out of your college experience and how you think you should get there? These are the questions to ask yourself when getting your game plan together. It’s never too early to have a college plan and the time spent now will more than pay off later.

Standardized Tests
The dreaded standardized tests don’t have to be feared. Everyone has to take the SATs or the ACT in high school to get into college, so why not start preparing for them now? Your senior year can be a frenzy, with the anticipation of graduating high school, the thought of leaving your friends and changing your life as you know it. The best thing you can do for yourself now is get serious about studying for these college tests. It will not only take some of the pressure off your final year but it also gives you the opportunity to start scouring sites like scholarships.com for college scholarships.

The Scholarships Search
Many people wait until their senior year to look for college scholarships. While senior year is prime time to figure out how to fund your college education, taking time out your junior year of high school to look for college scholarships will give you a head start. In addition to giving you an idea of the types of college scholarships that are out there, in some cases you can find college scholarships that are specifically for high school juniors.

Consider Possible Majors
One thing most students don’t realize coming out of high school is that college is really all about what direction you want to take. It’s no longer your parents or school’s choice; it’s your choice and junior year maybe the best time to start thinking about what your potential career will be. Thinking about it now will give you the opportunity to explore potential jobs you maybe interested in and help narrow down possible majors. One helpful step is to take a career assessment test or talk with your school’s guidance counselor to find out if these tests are offered at your school.

Research Colleges
Create a list of prospective colleges. Find schools that specialize in you areas of interest and majors you are considering. Consider the size, location and educational reputation of the school when you’re narrowing down your search. Ask yourself, “Do I want to live in an urban or rural setting? Do I want smaller class sizes or do I want a bigger campus?” These are just some questions to ask yourself when you conduct your research. Once you have your top schools, plan a trip to visit the campus. Set up appointments to take a tour, speak with professors and talk to college students on campus to find out about their experiences and see if it’s a good fit for you.

Finally, doing all these steps your junior year in high school will help you save time your senior year and it will help you make a better, informed choice for your future.

Need help figuring out how to get yourself ready financially? Come to my next College Funding Workshop and I’ll give you actionable steps you can take today!

Photo Credit: MC Quinn

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