High school students often treat their junior year, and not their senior year, as the true culmination of their high school careers. Junior year is the last full year of grades that colleges see when students apply, and many high school students take on leadership positions in their extracurriculars during their junior year, and not their senior year. However, senior year is just as, if not more, important than junior year (and students should treat it as such). Here are 10 steps that your juniors should follow during the summer before their final high school hurrah to set the stage for a productive senior year.
Summer is a great time for students to start narrowing down the list of colleges to which they want to apply, and it’s also a great time for preliminary college visits (if time and budget permit). Choosing colleges now will save them time during the application cycle, and college visits will let them get a feel for the campus and get their questions answered directly by college admissions officers.
Brainstorm application essay topics
Most college applications ask a variant of the same topics. It is easy for students to start thinking about the topics they wish to write about, and maybe even compose a draft or two of various topics. This will not only serve as good practice for the application cycle, it will also give them a head start!
Consider their recommenders
Choosing teachers to write recommendations can be one of the most daunting tasks during the application process. By taking some time to think about whom they’d like to ask, students will be ahead of the pack.
Work on their résumé
Many schools require students to list out their activities, awards, employment and experiences either in résumé format or on the application, often with start and end dates, and specific duties or tasks they have accomplished. Having this information already on hand once the time comes can be very useful.
Aim for leadership positions
Staying involved in student organizations in a leadership capacity will lend some structure to a student’s senior year — and will look great on their applications, too!
Plan out their senior year academics
Taking interesting and challenging classes is the key to beating senioritis.
Take the SAT and ACT
If students haven’t taken the test by the end of their junior year, they should take them as soon as possible.
Beef up their reading list
Not only will it help keep their vocabulary up for their SAT and ACT, reading classics will prepare them for their college reading loads.
Figure out their finances
Students should become adept at budgeting, handling a bank account and (if applicable) managing a credit card — skills that will serve them well during college.
Talk to their parents
Students should take the time to talk to their parents about choosing a college, managing finances and preparing for life on their own. Parents have been there, and have valuable experiences to share!
Anne Chaconas is the Director of Admissions Counseling for PowerScore Test Preparation (www.powerscore.com).