Junior year is the most important year in the college selection process because you will be researching colleges to create your college list, taking standardized tests (ACT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests), visiting colleges, and learning about financial aid.
Continue to take challenging classes (Honors and AP classes). Remember, your “Strength of Schedule” is a key factor that college Admission Counselors look at when they are deciding if they want to admit you. Taking a challenging class schedule can improve your chances of being admitted to your top choice colleges.
Continue to work hard to raise your G.P.A. The higher your G.P.A., the better your chances for college admission and the better your chances for earning college scholarships. If your G.P.A. is not as high as you would like it to be, it’s not too late to improve. Colleges like to see an upward trend in your grades, so keep giving your best effort.
Attend the Brother Rice/Mother McAuley College Fair in September. Approximately 200 colleges attend our College Fair. This is a great opportunity for you and your parents to pick up information booklets, speak to college representatives, and learn what each college has to offer you.
Throughout the school year, over 100 colleges visit Brother Rice to promote their schools and to recruit you. During your lunch, stop by their table to pick up information booklets and ask questions you may have about their school. This is a great way for the college representatives to get to know you as well.
You and your parents should attend the College Financial Aid Night in October at Mother McAuley. The presentation will guide you through the financial aid process, from selecting affordable colleges to completing the FAFSA.
If you are ranked in the top 20% of your class, enroll in the PSAT 240 test prep class offered by Excel Edge, Inc. The PSAT 240 test prep class is 7 weeks long. It begins in mid August and ends in early October. Applications will be mailed to eligible students.
Take the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) in October. This is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship program, National Achievement program, and the National Hispanic Scholar Recognition program.
Review your PSAT/NMSQT test results with your Counselor and parents.
LIKE Brother Rice College Counselor page on Facebook, and follow BR COLLEGE COUNSELOR @crusadercollege on Twitter to access valuable information about the college admissions, careers, scholarships, etc. If you are not on Twitter, you can access the page at https://twitter.com/crusadercollege.
Use Naviance tools “Super Match College Search,” “College Lookup,” and “Scattergrams” to research colleges that are an ideal fit for you. Create a list of “Colleges I’m thinking about” in Naviance using college selection criteria that are important to you (for example…location, academic major, GPA and ACT/SAT score requirements, tuition and fees, school size, extracurricular activities, campus setting, financial aid, etc.).
Every college in the United States has a “Net Price Calculator” available on their website. Use the “Net Price Calculator” to get an estimate of how much it will actually cost to attend each college on your list. The Net Price Calculator gives you a net price for a single academic year, after subtracting scholarships, grants, and loans.
In Naviance, complete the career questionnaires “Career Interest Profiler” and “Personality Type.” After completion, Naviance will you provide you with a list of careers that are a good fit for you based on your interests and personality. Research these careers in Naviance using the tool “Explore Careers & Clusters”, as well as other careers you may be interested in. Discuss the results of your career questionnaires with your Counselor. Your Counselor wants to help you select a career that you will find most enjoyable, interesting, and that will pay you well.
Find out if the colleges that you are interested in require the ACT, ACT + Writing, SAT, and/or the SAT Subject Tests for admission.
Visit ACT’s website (www.actstudent.org) for information about ACT test dates, registration deadlines, test fees, etc. We recommend taking the ACT test in April and June of your junior year, and if necessary, in September and October of your senior year. You are responsible for registering for the ACT test online at www.actstudent.org. Your Counselor is available to assist you with this process.
Visit College Board’s website (www.collegeboard.org) for information about SAT test dates, registration deadlines, test fees, etc. If you decide to take the SAT test, we recommend taking the SAT test in May and June of your junior year, and if necessary, in October of your senior year. You are responsible for registering for the SAT test online at www.collegeboard.org. If you choose to take the SAT Subject tests, we recommend taking them in May or June. Again, you are responsible for registering for the SAT Subject tests online at www.collegeboard.org. Your Counselor is available to assist you with this process.
Practice, practice, and practice some more for the college entrance exam(s) that you will be taking (ACT, ACT + Writing, SAT, SAT Subject Tests). See your Counselor for college entrance examination prep information.
Enroll in Excel Edge’s ACT 36 Prep class, which is an 8 week class starting in late January and ending in late March, just prior to the April ACT exam. Applications are available in early November in the Counseling office and are due before Christmas break. The fee for this prep class is approximately $270.
Stay committed to your extracurricular activities. Colleges look for consistent participation from one year to the next, and they are impressed when you take on a leadership role. Also, remember quality over quantity. Colleges want to see a strong commitment to one or two extracurricular activities that truly interest you. These activities can be at school or in the community.
Crusader athletes…if you think you will be playing a Division I or Division II sport in college, visit the NCAA Eligibility Center website (www.eligibilitycenter.org) to stay current on the academic requirements you will need to meet while in high school to be eligible to play in college. Also, meet with your Counselor to review the classes you will need to take during your senior year to be eligible to play at the college level.
Parents should complete FAFSA4caster. To access this valuable tool, go to FAFSA forecaster and it will estimate your eligibility for federal student aid.
Update your resume throughout the year. Be sure to include all of your extracurricular activities, honors, awards, accomplishments, paid work experience, volunteer experiences, community service experiences, etc. When applying for college admission and for scholarships, you will need to reflect on what you did in high school, so it’s a great idea to keep your resume updated each year. You may also want to include your resume in your college applications next year. It’s a great way for Admissions Counselors to see all of your activities and accomplishments in one easy to read document. Reminder: Naviance has an excellent resume builder tool.
Familiarize yourself with the Common Application (www.commonapp.org). The “Common App” is a universal college application that is accepted by over 500 colleges. You fill out the application once, and then you can submit it to any of the 500 participating colleges.
Start working on your college essays. Many colleges require you to write an essay(s) as part of their application process. These essays are a critical piece of your application. Your essay(s) will allow your prospective college to see how well you write, but more importantly, it gives them an opportunity to get to know you better. Your essay can make or break your application, so be sure you put extra effort into your essays. Counselors and English teachers can assist you in writing and editing your essays.
Letters of Recommendation: Letters of recommendation are often required for college admission. Start thinking about whom you would like to ask to write you a letter of recommendation. It is important to select teachers, counselors, coaches, employers, etc., who know you the best. Please give your recommender plenty of time to write for you. A minimum of 4 weeks notice is best. You should ask your recommender in person to write for you at the end of your junior year, or at the beginning of your senior year.
Get a summer job or an internship related to your career interests. Also, consider applying for an enrichment program on a college campus. See your Counselor or see “Enrichment Programs” in Naviance for program ideas.
Visit your top choice colleges over the summer. You can register for a tour on most college websites, or you can call the Admission office to schedule a tour. Strive to visit at least 5 colleges over the summer. Talk to your tour guide, professors, and current students during your visit.
Talk to friends and family members about their college experiences, especially if they attended a school on your list.
Start searching for college scholarships. Use the following websites to conduct your search:
Be sure to see your Counselor for more scholarship resources.
You will be completing your college applications in the fall of your senior year, but find out the application deadlines now. This will allow you to prioritize the order that you will complete your college applications in the fall. Also, take a look at the applications you will be completing to identify how much work is required per application. Applications can be found on the college website, or on the Common Application website.