Welcome to just-before-senior-year crunch time. As a junior, you worked like crazy and gave it everything you had to make your academic skills shine. Once school starts, it’s time to begin the process to find, apply, and get into college. You’ll put the finishing touches on your applications, cross your fingers, and hope for the best.
Starting your college search can feel like some weird reality TV show… Our contestant begins this challenge buried in the Pit of Pre-College Postcards. After escaping that, they must navigate the Maze of Many Choices while being chased by caffeinated college admissions representatives. To advance into the next round, they need to pick 10 potential universities that best fit their needs. The timer starts… NOW!
Now that you’ve finished your first two years and gotten the hang of high school, it’s time to make your first serious decisions about college. Junior year is when students really begin their college search and start thinking hard about what they want to do with the rest of their lives.
It sounds daunting, but if you start early, take your time, and research as much as possible, junior-year decisions won’t overwhelm you. To help you get through the many different steps in the college search you’ll take this year, we identified and explained three of the biggest decisions you’ll make in 11th grade:
With your freshman and sophomore years under your belt, it’s time to get into the groove of high school and keep crushing it in your classes. Junior year is also when most students begin their college search in earnest. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how far along they should be in their hunt for the perfect school.
Here’s a rough timeline for your college search in 11th grade to help you better understand what to do this year.
Summer before junior year
- Start thinking about ideal colleges. You don’t need to create a formal list or do in-depth research yet, but you should start thinking about what type of college to attend and begin considering a few specific options.
- Join clubs and/or extracurricular activities. Pick at least one club or student organization that you feel strongly about and participate in it consistently. If you’re already in one or more clubs, think about joining another one or taking on a leadership role—but don’t let these responsibilities interfere with your studies. Schoolwork comes first.
- Start researching ideal colleges. Gather information about different schools based on the type of learning environment and location you think will suit you best. Make a list of at least four colleges and gather details like average GPA, private or public, size, average financial aid packages, and anything else that stands out to you.
Each year of school is important in its own way. Middle school prepares you for the academic rigor of high school, which in turn gets you ready to take higher education classes. You wouldn’t be the person you are today, academically and socially, without all the years of school you completed.
But when it comes to choosing and applying to colleges, your 11th grade year of school makes a bigger impact than any other. We identified five reasons your junior year should be the time to get serious about your search for the perfect college.
College fairs are an excellent resource for prospective students to learn about universities, connect with admissions counselors, and find out what it takes to attend the school of their dreams.
You need to prepare yourself if you want to get the most out of college fairs. Here are some tips to help you find, navigate, and talk with the admissions professionals you meet at these events.