Congratulations on ticking off another year in your high school experience! As you finish up your finals and look forward to spring break, it’s important to remember there are a few other things you need to accomplish – either right after finals or sometime this summer. Your end of school year checklist should include researching colleges, preparing for the ACT or SAT, and looking into volunteering or similar opportunities.
Start Researching Colleges
You don’t have to send in your college applications until January of your senior year. But you don’t want to wait until December to get started on your search. Finding that perfect school for you, and then crafting a strong application, isn’t something that can be done in a few weeks. Between visiting campuses and asking your teachers for letters of recommendations, there’s a lot you need to get done!
So now is the perfect time to start thinking about what you want in a school, and then finding the colleges and universities that match those wants and needs. You should consider
- Where you want to attend school
- What you’d like to study
- Big school vs small school
- Community college or 4 year
- Careers that interest you
- And anything else that matters to you
Creating a running list will help you identify schools that meet these requirements you’ve set. Did you know our College Match tool will also help you identify the best colleges for your needs, wants, and goals?
Begin Studying for the ACT or SAT
You likely just took your PSAT in the last year, but that is not enough studying for the ACT or SAT! This is especially the case with the ACT – although they do have similar ideas, the ACT has some different sections when compared to the SAT or PSAT. So you need to decide: ACT or SAT? Or both? Where do your strengths and weaknesses lie?
This is also the time to start looking into preparation materials for your exams. You can download practice exams, review questions, work with a tutor, download an app, make flash cards, or these other tips. This is also a good time to schedule your first exam – you should take it at least twice.
Look Into Opportunities that Will Boost Your College Applications
Colleges are looking for more than just grades and high SAT/ACT scores from their applicants. They want to see you giving back to your community or being involved outside of your regular classes. You could achieve this by volunteering, joining an athletic club, or being part of extracurriculars. It’s also worth considering signing up for an internship position or getting a job. Extra bonus points if you manage to land one in your intended field!
You might be thinking you’re just a sophomore, you don’t have to worry about college yet – but that’s actually far from the truth. As you enter your junior year of high school, you need to seriously be getting a move on. And once you’ve finished this checklist, you might want to take a look at what needs to be done in the upcoming year.