Your Juniors should now be preparing for their futures and looking ahead to their futures. Her Campus posted some great tips that your juniors should be using to begin planning for that next step in life. Here are the tips your juniors can use:
1. Learn about the college
Figure out why your dream school is your dream school. Even if you think you already know, write it down and validate it with your words. Is it because it’s got an amazing program that’s exactly what you want to do? Or maybe you’re obsessed with the football team? If you understand why you want to go there, you can pinpoint whether it’s really the school for you. Don’t focus on just your dream college, though –– broaden your interests so you have a wide variety of schools to choose from. That way, you can understand whether your dream school is really unique for you or not.
If you’ve only just now decided to try for an Ivy League school as a junior and haven’t been pursuing the rigorous coursework required, it might be wise to look at other options. If you’ve been aiming for your dream college throughout your high school career, you have a much better shot at acceptance. Keep that in mind as you learn about your college.
2. Visit the campus
The best way to experience the atmosphere of a campus is to go there. If it’s far, bug your parents for a summer trip, and if it’s close, visit often to get a feel of what it’s really like. College visits give you a glimpse of both academic and student life, and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to see if your dream college is for you.
3. Connect with current students
It’s hard to know what living on a college campus is like if you’ve never done it before. Contact people who attend your dream school and ask them some questions. If you don’t know anyone who attends, ask around your family and friends if they know anyone you can get in touch with. Even lurking around on Facebook can get you results ––message a friend of a friend of a friend who goes to your college and see if they’ll respond. Most people won’t mind if you express that you genuinely want their advice.
If still no luck, search around on your college’s home page and you’re sure to find some email addresses to contact. Most students would be more than happy to give you advice.
4. Find out the school’s specific admissions requirements
As you’re liking the college more, it’s time to start thinking about applying. While as a junior, you don’t have to start writing your applications just yet, it’s important to understand what GPA and standardized test scores will increase your chances of admission to your dream school. Look online and you can find the score range that makes up the majority of the students your school admits.
Start studying for the SAT and ACT and continue to do well in your classes, so you can be comfortably in the score range for your school.
5. Build your resume
Apart from academics, extracurricular activities and work experiences can really beef up your resume ––especially if you’re a little shy of the score range that your school prefers. While you don’t have to join every club at your high school, choose a few extracurricular activities that you can shine in and definitely pick up some leadership positions along the way.
Look for work or internship experiences that you can snag as well. If you’re not sure where to start, ask your teachers.
6. Look for high school programs that your dream school offers
Many colleges offer programs for high school students that allow them to obtain college credit by taking a few classes on their campus, whether over the school year or the summer. It’s a great opportunity to get a feel of what studying on your dream school’s campus is like. If you’re interested, look online to see if your dream college offers a program like that. However, these programs can often be costly, and it’s up to you to decide if it’s really worth it.
Don’t expect to have a better chance at admission to your dream school because you paid thousands of dollars to attend their summer program. However, it will beef up your resume in terms of productivity over the summer. Choose whatever you think will help your application the most.
7. Consider early decision
It’s a huge decision to completely commit to one school. However, if it’s really the school of your dreams, then follow it, girl! In case you didn’t know, early decision is different from regular decision in two ways: you need to apply earlier, and if you get in, you are required to attend the college.
The applicant pool is significantly smaller and the college knows that only the most dedicated of students are applying, so you definitely have a higher chance of admission when going for early decision. It’s a difficult choice, so weigh all your options before jumping the gun.
8. But remember: It’s okay if you don’t get in
Just a friendly warning ––don’t go overboard with all this “dream college” stuff. If you don’t get in, no sweat. No matter where you go to college, you can still get a great education and have tons of opportunities to stand out. In fact, attending a less competitive school can even make you stand out more in your classes in the long run. Big fish in a little pond, right?
Keep your head high and do your best, future collegiette – anywhere you go you can find fulfilling college experiences. Best of luck!
Shereen Jeyakumar is currently a junior at Florida Atlantic University, majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Literature. As the Life Section Editor and Feature Writer for Her Campus, she loves to read, write and express her opinion. When she’s not scribbling away in a notebook, you can find her obsessively playing videogames, procrastinating for her physics final or staying up till 4 AM for no reason whatsoever.