Sometimes it can be difficult to picture ourselves many years in the future. Or, at the very least, it doesn’t feel “real”. But when it comes to college planning, everyone should get started by Junior year at the latest. That’s because…
You’ll have to take the SAT or ACT. Unless you earn a super high score on the first attempt, you might want to re-take the test several more times. Signing up for a test session during your Junior year gives you time to improve your score, if needed for scholarships or admission to your top choice school.
Choosing a college is a lot of work. You will balance options such as your intended major, proximity to home, cost of tuition, extracurricular options, and more. With this many factors to weigh, it makes sense to get an early start. Gather information and visit a few colleges as soon as possible.
Financial aid is a length process. You can’t actually apply for financial aid until just before you begin attending college, but you can start working on private grants and scholarships now. There are so many available, that a bit of research can go a long way toward uncovering more help with tuition.
Become familiar with deadlines. Each school will have its own calendar of deadlines, for things like applications, housing, scholarships, and so on. If you get an early start, you will be less likely to miss out on anything important.
Boost your grades. Hopefully you’re doing your best work already. But there’s nothing like touring colleges and talking to admissions counselors, to motivate you to put 110 percent into your studies. And since higher grades can increase your chances of admission to your favorite school, it can’t hurt to get motivated now!
Increase your odds of admission. Other than grades and test scores, colleges all have their own standards for admission. By touring your top choice schools, asking questions, and getting to know a few contacts, you can determine what you need to do in order to earn your best shot at getting in.