Start applying for scholarships!
Start applying for scholarships using NextStepU's Scholarship Search Tool!
High School to College - Scholarships for High School Juniors
Transitioning from high school to college is exciting and challenging. The time to get active in making the transition is in your junior year of high school.
Begin the college review/selection process! Attend college fairs, financial aid seminars and 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.
Register for the October PSAT. Meet with your guidance counselor to review your courses for this year and plan your schedule for senior year.
Save samples of your best work for your academic portfolio all year.
Maintain your extracurricular record all year.
Junior-year PSAT scores may qualify a student for the National Merit Competition and the National Achievement and the National Hispanic Scholars programs. So even though these scores will not be used for college admission, it is still a good idea to take the PSAT. The more times you take standardized tests, the more familiar you will become with the format and the types of questions asked. If you wish to receive free information from colleges, indicate on the PSAT answer form that you want to participate in the Student Search.
Junior-year grades are extremely important in the college admission process because they are a measure of how well you do in advanced, upper-level courses. Grades also are used to determine scholarships for high school juniors and grants for which you may be eligible. So put in the extra effort and keep those grades up!
If you will require financial aid, start researching your options for grants, scholarships for high school juniors and work-study programs. Make an appointment with your guidance counselor or start by visiting www.nacacnet.org and www.NextStepU.com/FinancialAid for financial aid information.
During December, you should receive the results of your PSAT. Read your score report and consult your school counselor to determine how you might improve on future standardized tests. The PSAT is excellent preparation for the SAT, which you will take in the spring.
If you plan to take the ACT, register now for the February exam. Many colleges accept both the ACT and the SAT. Some colleges require the ACT or both SAT and SAT II. When you begin to explore different colleges and universities, ask which standardized test they prefer to use.
Begin to make a preliminary list of colleges you would like to investigate further. Surf the Internet and use the college resources in the guidance office or library.
Learn your Social Security number, which is required on many college applications. If you were never issued a Social Security number, contact the closest Social Security office as soon as possible to obtain a number.
Meet with your guidance counselor to discuss your preliminary list of colleges. Discuss whether your initial list of colleges meets your needs and interests (academic program, size, location, cost) and determine if you are considering colleges where you are likely to be admitted. You should be both optimistic and realistic when applying to colleges.
Register for the March SAT if you have completed the math courses covered on the SAT. If not, plan to take the SAT in May or June. Prepare for the SAT or ACT by signing up for a prep course, using computer software or doing the SAT/ACT practice tests available in the counseling office or at bookstores. But don’t spend so much time trying to improve your standardized test scores that your grades and extracurricular involvement suffer.
Write, telephone or use the Internet to request admission literature and financial aid information from the colleges on your list. There is no charge and no obligation to obtain general information about admission and financial aid.
When selecting your senior courses, be sure to continue to challenge yourself academically.
Register for the May/June SAT and/or the SAT II subject tests. Not all SAT II subject tests are given on every test date. Check the calendar carefully to determine when the subject tests you want are offered. Register for the June ACT if you want to take that test.
Continue to evaluate your list of colleges and universities. Eliminate colleges from your original list that no longer interest you. Add others as appropriate.
Look into summer jobs or apply for special summer academic or enrichment programs. Colleges love to see students using their knowledge and developing their skills and interests.
Attend a college fair to get more information about the schools on your list. Visit www.nacac.com for dates and locations of national and performing and visual arts college fairs. Visit www.NextStepU.com/CollegeFair for more information on how to make the most of your college fairs.
Get a jump start on summer activities. Consider enrolling in an academic course at a local college, pursuing a summer-school program, applying for an internship, working or volunteering. If you work, save part of your earnings for college.
Begin visiting colleges. Phone to set up appointments. Interviews are always a good idea. Many colleges will tell you they are optional, but an interview will show interest, enthusiasm and initiative on your part and provide an excellent opportunity to have your questions answered. Do a practice interview with your counselor, teacher, employer or a senior who has had college interviews. Set up interviews as early as possible—interview times become booked quickly!
Take the SAT or the SAT II.
After school ends, get on the road to visit colleges. Seeing the college firsthand, taking a tour and talking to students help you decide whether or not a school is right for you. Although it is ideal to visit colleges during the academic year, going in the summer will still be valuable. Admission offices employ their students to give tours and answer questions from prospective students and their parents.
Take the SAT, the SAT II and/or the ACT.
Visit colleges, take tours, have interviews and ask questions. Make college visiting a family event. Involve your parents in your application process. The opinions of those who know you well can provide helpful insight into the best college for you.
Continue to refine your list of potential colleges.
Begin preparing for the actual application process by drafting application essays; collecting writing samples; and assembling portfolios or audition tapes. If you are an athlete and plan on playing in college, contact the coaches at the schools to which you are applying and ask about intercollegiate and intramural sports programs and athletic scholarships.
Complete the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse form if you hope to play Division I or II sports. (This form cannot be mailed until you finish your sixth semester of high school.)
High School to College- SENIOR YEAR
Make sure you have all applications required for college admission and financial aid. Write, phone or use the Internet to request missing information.
Check on application and financial aid deadlines for the schools to which you plan to apply. They may vary, and it is essential to meet all deadlines!
Meet with your guidance counselor to be sure your list includes colleges appropriate to your academic and personal record. Review your transcript and extracurricular records with your school counselor to ensure their accuracy.
Register for the fall SAT, SAT II subject test and/or ACT.
If the colleges require recommendations, ask the appropriate people to write on your behalf. Provide recommendation forms, any special instructions and a stamped, addressed business envelope to the people writing your recommendations. Be thoughtful! Write thank-you notes to those who write recommendations, and keep them informed of your decisions.
Plan visits to colleges and set up interviews if you didn’t get to them during the summer or if you want to return to a campus for a second time. Read bulletin boards and the college newspaper. Talk with current students and professors.
Attend a regional college fair to investigate further those colleges to which you will probably apply.
Mail applications in time to reach the colleges by the deadlines. Check with your guidance counselor to make sure your transcript and test scores have been/will be sent to the colleges to which you are applying.
If applying for early decision or early action, send in your application now. Also prepare applications for your back-up schools. Remember, if you are accepted under the early decision option, you are expected to enroll at that college and to withdraw all other applications.
Register for the December/January SAT and/or SAT II or December ACT if you have not completed the required tests or if you are not happy with your previous test scores and think you can do better.
Have official test scores sent by the testing agency to colleges on your list.
Take the SAT or SAT II if appropriate. Don’t forget to have test scores sent to colleges on your list.
Be sure your first-quarter grades are good.
Continue completing applications to colleges. Make copies of all your applications before mailing them. If submitting applications online, double check before you hit "send" and check all deadlines and application requirements.
If you need financial aid, obtain a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) from your guidance office. Check to see if the colleges to which you are applying require any other financial aid form, such as the CSS Profile.
Keep all records, test score reports and copies of applications for admission and financial aid. Do not throw anything away until at least the end of your first year in college. Having detailed records will save you time and effort should anything be lost or should you decide to apply in the future to other colleges or scholarships for high school juniors programs.
Have official test scores sent to colleges on your list if you have not yet done so.
Consult your school counselor again to review your final list of colleges. Be sure you have all bases covered.
If you applied for early decision, you should have an answer by now. If you were accepted, follow the instructions for admitted students. If the decision is deferred until spring or you are denied, submit applications now to other colleges.
Keep working hard! Your grades continue to count through senior year and colleges review these grades!
Request that your counselor send the transcript of your first-semester grades to the colleges to which you applied.
Parents and students, complete your income tax forms as soon as possible. You will need those figures to fill out the FAFSA. Complete and return your FAFSA as quickly as possible after Jan. 1. Check to make sure your colleges or state do not require any other financial aid forms. If they do, consult your guidance counselor or contact the college’s financial aid office.
Remember to monitor your applications to be sure that all materials are sent and received on time and that they are complete. Stay on top of things and don’t procrastinate; you can ruin your chances for admission by missing a deadline.
You should receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) within four weeks after submitting the FAFSA. Review the SAR carefully and check for any inaccuracies. If necessary, correct any items on the SAR and return it to the FAFSA processor (if a college transmitted your data directly, notify the college of any changes).
If more than four weeks have passed after sending in your FAFSA and you have not received an acknowledgment, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 4-FED-AID (433-3243). They will need your name, Social Security number, address and date of birth exactly as it was written on your FAFSA.
Complete scholarship applications. You may be eligible for more scholarships than you think, so apply for as many as you can.
Enjoy your final year in high school, but don’t catch senioritis!
Stay focused and keep studying—only a couple more months to go!
Some colleges do not have hard application deadlines; they admit students on a continuous basis. But do not take rolling admission as a sign that you can turn in your application as late as you want. These schools may reach their maximum class sizes quickly, so the earlier you apply, the more availability there may be.
Review your college acceptances and financial aid awards. Be sure to compare financial aid packages in your decision-making process. If you are positive you will not enroll at one or more of the colleges that accept you, please notify those colleges that you have selected another one. Keeping colleges abreast of your plans might enable those colleges to admit someone else. If you know which college you will attend, send in your tuition deposit and follow all other instructions for admitted students. You must decide which offer of admission to accept by May 1.
Decide on the one college that you will attend. By May 1, send in your tuition deposit to that college.
Be proud—you have completed a difficult task!
If your first-choice college places you on a waiting list, do not lose all hope. Talk with your counselor, and contact the college to let them know you are still very interested. Keep the college updated on your activities.
Take Advanced Placement examinations, if appropriate, and request that your AP scores be sent to the college you will attend.
Request that your counselors end your final transcript to the college you will attend. Notify the college of any private scholarships or grants you will be receiving.
Know when the payments for tuition, room, board and meal plans are due. If necessary, ask the financial aid office about a possible payment plan that will allow for you to pay in installments.
Congratulations! You’ve made it through high school! Enjoy your graduation and look forward to college.
Look for information in the mail from the college about housing, roommates, orientation and course selection. Respond promptly to all requests from the college.
August through September
Ease your transition into college. Accept the fact that you’ll be in charge of your academic and personal life. What you do, when you do it and how things get done will be up to you. You’ll have new responsibilities and challenges. Budget your time and establish priorities. Take charge of the changes that lie ahead and eliminate or minimize pressures. Go forth with confidence and enthusiasm, willingness to adapt and determination to succeed academically and personally.
Pack for college. Don’t forget to include things that remind you of friends and family. You’ve taken all the steps to move from high school to college- from applying for scholarships for high school juniors to packing for college. Be prepared for the new opportunities and challenges. Have a great freshman year!
Reprinted with permission from the National Association for College Admission Counseling. NACAC sponsors 60 college fairs nationwide. For more information, visit www.nacacnet.org.