Junior year usually marks a turning point. This is because for most students and families, it’s when post secondary planning activities kick into high gear. Here are some things you can do this year to support your child and give him or her the best options.
- Get the facts about post secondary costs. You may be surprised by how affordable higher education can be. Start by reading Understanding College Costs.
- Explore financial aid options. These include grants and scholarships, loans, and work-study programs that can help cut down the costs. Find out more about how financial aid can make college affordable.
- If your child begins an elective class and determines that it is not a good fit, they must meet with their counselor within the first 2 weeks of school to develop a plan.
- Make sure your child meets with the school counselor during the first quarter to explore post-secondary admission criteria. Learn more about the counselor's role in applying to college.
- Encourage your child to set goals for the school year. Working toward specific goals helps your high schooler stay motivated and focused.
- Help your child stay organized. Work with your 11th-grader to make monthly to-do lists to keep on top of the tasks required to get ready for applying to post secondary schools. For more time-management tips, see 8 Ways to Take Control of Your Time.
- Help your junior get ready for the PSAT/NMSQT in October. This is a preliminary test that helps students practice for the SAT and assess their academic skills. Juniors who score well on the test are also eligible for scholarship opportunities. Find out more about the PSAT/NMSQT.
- Review PSAT/NMSQT results together. Your child’s score report comes with a free SAT study plan. This online, customized plan is based on your child’s test scores and can help him or her work on areas that need improvement. Learn more about this individualized SAT study plan.
- Help your child prepare for college admission tests. Juniors should take college admission tests, such as the SAT and the ACT, in the spring so they can get a head start on planning for college. Please check our website to view registration deadlines and testing dates.
- Have your child check with the school counselor to see if they may be eligible for a fee waiver for the SAT/ACT test.
- Discuss taking challenging courses next year. Some 12th grade classes allow students to earn college credits for a small fee while doing the regular coursework. Please visit this link for a list of the eligible classes. Contact your school counselor if you have additional questions.
- Encourage your child to take AP Exams. If your 11th-grader takes AP or other advanced classes, have him or her talk with teachers now about taking these tests in May. Read more about the AP Program.
- Search together for colleges that meet your child’s needs. Once you have an idea of the qualities your child is looking for in a college, help him or her enter these criteria into College Search to create a list of colleges to consider applying to.
- Attend college fairs and financial aid events held at the high school. These events allow you to meet with college representatives and get answers to questions. Your child can ask the school counselor how to find events in your area. We also list all upcoming events on our website.
- Help your child make summer plans. Summer is a great time to explore interests and learn new skills — and colleges look for students who pursue meaningful summer activities. Help your high schooler look into discipline specific camps or find a job, internship, or job shadow.
- Visit colleges together. Make plans to check out the campuses of colleges your child is interested in. Use the Campus Visit Checklist to learn how to get the most out of these experiences.