Junior year is an extremely important year for Spanish River students. Critical decisions will have a major impact on a student’s next five years (senior year + college) and long beyond. College admissions officers look very closely at what a student does in junior year, so here are seven tips from International College Counselors for helping your college bound junior:
- Make Sure They Prepare For and Take Standardized Tests
Students should not wait for senior year to take the SAT and ACT. Taking these tests in junior year gives students time to see their weaknesses and to study. With the right preparation, scores almost always improve and the SAT or ACT can be retaken in the fall of senior year. Fall is the last chance to take the tests for many colleges. Students should take the SAT Subject Tests in the subjects they are taking this year. Students who wait until their senior year to take these, may find they’ve forgotten the material.
- Research Colleges
Help your student gather information on different colleges and universities from books and websites and through social media. Encourage your student to attend local college fairs or talk to a college alum, as well as go to presentations given by traveling college admissions officers. As a family, go on as many campus tours as possible. Consider the whole range of schools: public, private, large, and small. By late spring, students should have an initial college list.
- Search for Scholarships
Encourage students to research scholarship opportunities and apply to them. Many scholarships are open to students in their junior year. Students may also spot scholarships they want to apply to in their senior year. Make sure all scholarship applications are proofread and all deadlines are met.
- Plan to Maximize Summer
Colleges want to see that students spent their summers wisely. Internships, jobs, and college programs are among the activities they favor. To achieve this, students need to start planning their summer now. Many competitive and prestigious summer programs exist and these satisfy hundreds of interests including engineering, journalism, and business. The right programs expose students to new information and look great on college applications. Attending a summer program at a college of interest also looks good to a college. While this does not guarantee admissions, it may help a student confirm interest in the school and make an early decision choice easier.
- Emphasize Good Grades
Senior grades are not listed on college applications. This means colleges give the most importance to junior year grades. Junior year is the last year to impress. A drop in grades can send the wrong signals to a college. An increased GPA or a consistently high average shows that a student is ready for college. Easier classes should not be taken in an attempt to raise grades. However, students can scale back in the subjects not important to their future goals, if they have well-defined goals. Be careful about this and consult a college advisor, as needed. Another reason to get good grades: Junior year teachers are typically the ones to ask for letters of recommendation.
- Monitor Social Media
Check all of your student’s social media accounts and Google your child’s name. If you see that they’ve posted something even slightly inappropriate or able to be misinterpreted, tell your child to delete it. Admissions officers and coaches have denied students or rescinded their acceptances based on social media posts.
- Get Help
If your student is slipping in any classes or didn’t meet expectations on a standardized test, consider hiring a tutor to help, or seek instruction online. There are many free resources. Need help choosing classes, extracurriculars, and-or finding the right colleges for your student to apply to, speak to one of our experienced education consultants at International College Counselors.
Junior year comes with a lot of stress, but with planning and positivity, it can also be a time filled with excitement about the future. All the hard work can pay off.
INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE COUNSELORS
International College Counselors, a Spanish River Community High School PTSA Business Partner, helps students find, apply to, and gain acceptance into the U.S. college of their dreams. The expert educational consultants are dedicated to helping students and their families successfully navigate the college admission process. For more information on International College Counselors or to contact an expert college advisor, please visit http://www.internationalcollegecounselors.com or call 954 414-9986.