It’s a new year, and the junior year of high school will end in a few months. If you plan to apply to college this fall, then you need to take out the spreadsheet and get some things in order. Below I will list a few items to keep in mind to minimize the stress of college applications.

  1. Standardized tests. If you have not taken any standardized tests, such as SAT or ACT, now is the time to register. Visit and to find out the dates for the tests in your area. TIP: Register for the June test date. This way, you will get the scores back early enough to focus on your areas of weakness, if any. You can then reschedule to retake the test(s) in August/September to improve the overall score. This can work to your advantage if you plan to apply early action or early decision. Early action and early decision applications usually require that all documentation arrives at the college by November 1. Some schools will allow your test scores to arrive after the November 1 date, but other institutions want all of your application materials, including test scores by November 1. Check with your schools of interest to verify the policy.


  1. Review your list of schools to which you plan to apply. Go over the list of schools and, if you have an intended major, check on any special requirements. Is there a particular scholars program to which you intend to apply? If you plan to major in music or theatre, have you started to review materials that you want to incorporate in your portfolio as part of your application?


  1.       Course descriptions. Do you have course descriptions for all of your courses from freshman year? If you have not started this process, start it now. Go back and look at what you have studied during the 9th and 10th grades. Develop a course description file. If you have taken a course at a community college, you can utilize the course description in your file. See my blog post on how to write a course description.


  1. Finalize summer plans. Consider spending part of your summer taking a course, working, or volunteering. Not only is this a good use of time, but it is also an excellent way to test out possible areas of interest for additional study in college or for a career.

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