Junior Year

junior

  • Keep those grades up.  You must have a 2.0 combined GPA to graduate.  You should target a 3.0 if you’re going to a major university and even higher if you want a competitive school and competitive scholarships.  You send most applications out early in your senior year, before your senior grades are recorded, so you’ll be sending the GPA you have by the end of this year.

 

  • Make the most of this year’s tests.  The ACT and the SAT are both college entrance tests.  They test what you know in core academic areas.  Most colleges take either one.  Sometimes a student gets a higher score on one than the other so you might want to take them both.
    • This year you must take the ACT in April here at PHS (free), but you might also want to take it in the fall or winter as a practice run, to see what you should study.  Studying for these tests does help.  For testing tips and to sign up, check out: http://www.actstudent.org/ and http://www.collegeboard.com/ for SAT.  You do NOT need to sign up online for the free April ACT test.  We‘ll do that for you.Also consider taking the PSAT, which can put you in the running for the National Merit Scholarship, and can get you on the mailing list for other scholarships and early college experiences. Go to: http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/psat/about.html.
    •  You might want to take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery).  Yes, it’s a military entrance test, but it doesn’t mean you have to join up – it can give you a few more career options to consider though. Go to: http://www.military.com/ASVAB for information and study tips.

 

  • Start your scholarship search.  Set up a free account on fastweb.com.  If you are considering the military AND college, check out the academy websites (West Point, Naval, Air force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine) and college ROTC scholarships (army, navy, air force, marines).  These have early deadlines and the academies have a summer program between the junior and senior year, so start your application process this year.

 

  • About Military Academies: Military academies provide a free college education to the Bachelor’s and even Master’s level. In return, graduates agree to serve as an officer in the military for five years or more.  The academies require unique steps that must be completed sooner than most colleges.  Begin this early in your junior year.

 

  • Make a list of possible schools.  Go to college fairs and visit campuses when you can.  Keep an open mind about going to school.  Four years at a big university isn’t ideal for everyone.  Also look at community colleges and private schools where the class sizes tend to be smaller.  Community colleges also tend to be less expensive and they offer shorter, certificate programs that will help you get a better-paying job but not take as long to complete.  Check out https://secure.collegeincolorado.org/Default.aspx and the “Naviance Family Connections” through your home school.  These have college search options that include everything from certificate programs to 6-year degrees, in Colorado and out.  Naviance includes international schools where you might get an even better deal for the money. Try to have at least three options by the end of your junior year: one or two that you can get into for sure, and one or two that are more of a challenge to get into.  If the school requires an essay with your application, you can start working on those now or in the summer.

 

  • Take the right courses.  Make sure you have prerequisites met for AP classes you want to take next year.  Scoring high on an AP exam can save you time and money in college by earning you credit for the course.  If your plan includes college, make sure to check out the Colorado college admissions requirements at http://highered.colorado.gov/Academics/Admissions/. Take classes that will help you in your career plan, even if that plan doesn’t include traditional college majors.  Not sure what those classes might be?  Ask your counselor.

 

 

  • Update your resume.  Add activities you were involved in as a leader or as a volunteer.  Write in any jobs you’ve had and your supervisor’s name and contact number.  For your academic resume (used with colleges and scholarship organizations) add any awards, or special recognitions, cool and uncommon activities, interests and hobbies, plus your college entrance test scores and GPA.

 

  • Try an Internship.  Did you know you can try working in a career area before you ever leave high school?  It’s called an internship, and it allows you to see what the job is like.  Summer is a great time to get an internship.  Some internships qualify you for a scholarship.  Some turn into a future job, if you impress the people you intern with.   

 

  • Use your summer wisely.  Study and retake your ACT/SAT tests if you need to improve your score.   There are many summer opportunities for students to visit colleges for camps and workshops in career areas.  Look at the website of the schools you are interested in, or try googling “summer programs for high school students.”
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