- At the beginning of your junior year, check your transcript carefully to make sure you have completed all the courses required for your diploma option and for graduation.
- Continuing maintaining a folder or filing box to store any certificates, pictures, letters, awards, newspaper clippings, medals, etc. that demonstrate academic, leadership, community service, and/or athletic accolades or accomplishments. This documentation will be invaluable when you begin the college and scholarship applications.
- Remember, grades are important! Continue to take challenging, rigorous courses and concentrate on your academics. Do not be tempted to take "easier" classes to have a higher GPA. Remember, most colleges would prefer to have a student with a low A or B in a challenging course than an easy A in a simpler course. Plus, these challenging courses can help students increase their ACT and SAT scores, which most often determines scholarships and admissions.
- Colleges are interested in students' leadership skills. Develop your skills by joining school clubs and attending leadership seminars and conferences.
- Colleges are also interested in your community service. Be sure to volunteer regularly with at least one community organization and keep up with your hours to include on your resume.
- Begin developing your resume and college essay that will be turned in to your English teacher at the end of the year. Keep up with your awards, achievements and activities so that they can be included on your resume.
- Take the PSAT. This is the practice SAT and the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program and the National Hispanic Recognition Program. It is always given in October, so check out the date early! See your counselor for details.
- Take the ACT with Writing (www.actstudent.org) and/or the SAT (sat.collegeboard.com/sat). If you receive free or reduced lunch, you qualify for a fee waiver to take these tests! See your counselor for this. Further information on these exams can be found in this handbook under "College Entrance Exams."
- Get prepared early and begin your scholarship search for both college merit scholarships and independent scholarships.
- Now is the time to continue to develop your lists of possible college choices and to arrange college visits. One of the best times to visit colleges is during fall, semester, and spring breaks while college classes are still in session.
- Research colleges and begin narrowing your college search. By the senior year, you should have narrowed your choices to no more than five.
- Attend the National College Fair sponsored by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). This Fair is always held on a Sunday afternoon in September at the Birmingham Civic Center. Go to www.gotomyncf.com to register. See your counselor for further information.
- If you are a student athlete and want to participate in Division I or Division II sports in college, you need to start your certification process now. You must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center or the NAIA Eligibility Center, depending upon the colleges at which you plan to participate. In addition, contact college coaches at your target colleges/universities and include a schedule of your athletic events. Along with a resume of your athletic accomplishments, it is important to develop a video or DVD of your athletic highlights with relevant articles of your successes. You must also have your college-entrance, standardized test scores (ACT and/or SAT) sent directly to NCAA and/or NAIA. Remember, it is your responsibility to know the requirements for eligibility.
- Continue to take the ACT and/or SAT to improve your scores.
- Continue to collect information on college application procedures; entrance requirements; tuition and fees; room and board; course offerings; and, campus life. Compare the colleges and universities and continue to narrow your college choices.
- Apply for on-campus, college summer programs. These programs will give you an opportunity to acquire more in-depth information about the college and to enhance your academic skills.
- Ask your junior teachers if they will write recommendation letters for you. These letters will be needed in your senior year for college admissions and scholarship applications.
- Be sure to schedule some college visits during our Spring Break!
- If you are interested in attending one of the military academies, it is in April of your junior year that you will need to file Service Academies and ROTC Scholarship applications! See your counselor for further information.
- Register for your senior year courses. Be sure you take challenging courses your senior year and the courses you need for admissions to your college-of-choice.
- Take AP Exams in May. This is your opportunity to earn college credit!
- Take the June ACT and/or SAT during the summer to increase your scores!
- Continue your extracurricular and community service during the summer. Colleges and prospective employers will want to know what you have done during this "free" time.