Junior Year Checklist: Your College Prep Guide

Did you put off college preparation a little bit in your junior year of high school and now need a junior year checklist? Don’t worry; you’re not too far behind yet and we have the tools get you where you need to be. If you need to know everything you have to tackle in the next few months, check out our downloadable junior year checklist.

1. Sign Up for the ACT or SAT

You likely took your PSAT already earlier in your junior year, but have you signed up and started studying for your ACT or SAT yet? Make this a top priority on your junior year checklist! There are plenty of test dates for you to take advantage of in the months ahead, so try to grab one that gives you enough time to study beforehand. You’ll also want to be sure you have a buffer after the test date – it’s recommended you take either test at least once! So, you’ll want to have a second test date planned for the future as well.

And you don’t want to just sit around and wait for your test date. You need to actually study. You can:

  • Download apps that help you study a little each day
  • Schedule study time each week on each of the different sections
  • Identify your weak and strong areas of either test
  • Create flash cards
  • Take practice exams
  • Find a study buddy
  • Get a tutor

2. Select Your Senior Classes

One thing you may not have put a lot of thought into when it comes to college prep is your senior year’s classes. During senior year, many students already have a majority of requirements out of the way. It’s likely you’re going to have a schedule full of electives!

So what should you take? It’s a good idea to talk to your guidance counselor about your ideas after graduation and your career goals. They can help you determine the best courses to help you achieve those aspirations.

You could fund all 4 years of college with one loan application.

With Multi-Year Approval, you have less hassle with the same great terms.*


Some tips:

  • You don’t want to select all “easy” courses. Although it can be easy to get all A’s in these types of classes, colleges will notice if you phoned it in during your course selection.
  • Think about what interests you. What electives sound interesting to you? There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a class!
  • Consider hobbies. From cooking to photography to drama, high schools tend to offer a wide array of different types of courses available to seniors. What’s something that you could pick up as a hobby, even after you graduate, that you can learn about now?
  • Take a college course or two. Many high schools offer AP or college courses available to senior students. Weigh the pros and cons of these to determine which is best for your education.

3. Narrow Down Your College List

And, of course, you’ll want to consider that college list of yours! To craft your list, think about:

  • Where do you want to go to college?
  • What size school will fit you?
  • What do you want to major in?
  • What are some must haves in your college and the college’s city?
  • What is important to you in a college?

You don’t have to apply to these schools just yet but doing a bit of legwork sooner rather than later can ensure you have a good list when you do have to send in applications. Using the right resources, too, such as our College Match will definitely help you narrow your list.

4. Plan to Visit Colleges

Spring break and the summer after junior year are the perfect opportunities to visit college campuses. Visiting schools is essential to determining whether or not it’s the right one for you. Nothing compares to actually stepping foot on campus. You can research a college online until you’re blue in the face, but you’ll never understand what it’s actually like there until you visit.

Planning out your visits can help you save money and time. However, for some students, it may be more economically feasible to wait to visit a college until after they’ve received an acceptance letter. In these cases, a virtual tour can suffice.

5. Attend College Fairs

Many high schools and local organizations host college fairs throughout the year. Consider attending these to get an idea about what schools you’d like to attend. You can discover colleges you never even heard of before! They also give you a chance to ask school representatives your most pressing questions, sign up to receive more information about the school, and explore majors you hadn’t considered previously.

While your college applications won’t be due until the middle of your senior year, you should be thinking seriously about college and your future during your junior year. From narrowing down your college choices to taking your SAT or ACT for the first time, there’s a lot to tackle in the coming months. Getting a head start now will help increase your chances of getting an acceptance letter to your dream school, too!

Not sure where you want to attend college? Not sure where to start? College Raptor’s College Match resource helps you discover schools that meet your needs, wants, and academic goals. It’s completely free, too. Get started today.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join thousands of students and parents learning about finding the right college, admissions secrets, scholarships, financial aid, and more.