Detailed Junior College Planning Timeline

An opening in the flowers shows the exterior of the Highlands Latin School Building

Junior Year

  • CHECK OUT the resources HERE to help you build you college list.
    • What are your academic interests and your career interests? What credentials would you need for your career interests? What specific schools or school types will feed your academic interests and can prepare you to achieve your growing career goals?
    • What kind of financial investment are you willing and able to make for your post-secondary education? Which specific schools or school types meet these?
    • What kind of learner are you? What format and environment do you enjoy and learn best in and what specific schools or school types match those desires and needs?
    • What kind of support, community, and extracurriculars do you want and / or need? Which specific schools or school types can provide these?
    • Juniors are encouraged to take their first ACT in late fall / early winter after the PSAT. After you take your first ACT compare your results and test-taking experience to the PSAT (taken in Oct.). Determine which test (the ACT or SAT) is your “best-test”.
    • Proceed to create a study plan and a “retake-test-schedule” for your determined best test.
    • Test twice more from your initial test to improve your score.
    • You will send your best standardized test score to colleges in the Fall of your 12th grade year. A strong score gives you a competitive edge for admissions and scholarships to colleges.
    • Visit the SAT & ACT Guide on our website for detailed guidance on this.
  • CONTINUE RESEARCHING COLLEGES & BEGIN LISTING QUESTIONS. Request information by submitting your email or mailing address through the admissions webpage of any college of serious interest.
    • File college mail and emails that will be helpful for future reference.
    • Investigate specific schools and school-types and their middle 50% . The middle 50% reflects whether this school may be a good match academically for you; including your admission likelihood and how you will fit into the student body. Students that match to a school at their academic level graduate at higher rates.


    • Junior year is notorious for being the most challenging year of a student’s high school career (and colleges know it!).
    • The rigor of your classes and your success through this year speak volumes to colleges evaluating your transcript.
    • Reach out for help as needed, take advantage of tutoring, and continue to build your relationship with your teachers. You will soon be asking these teacher for a letter of recommendation for your college applications.
  • STAY COMMITTED TO YOUR EXTRACURRICULARS & TRY NEW THINGS. Remain faithful to and continue to grow in your extracurriculars. Colleges want to see you can commit and balance school and other responsibilities. It is also never too late to try something new!
  • CONTINUE UPDATING YOUR JOURNAL (CHRONICLING HIGH SCHOOL). Continue listing all extra-curricular activities, awards, and honors. Be specific about the details of each. Record your time commitment, list your responsibilities with active verbs, and give a reflection about what you learned.

Fall / Winter:

  • TAKE THE PSAT/NMSQT IN OCTOBER. Sign up and take the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifier Test in October to potentially qualify as a National Merit Semi-Finalist. National Merit Semi-Finalists and commended are notified in September of their Senior year.
  • MEET WITH COLLEGE REPS. Plan for your opportunity to engage with Admissions Counselors representing your colleges of interest. You may do so during A.C. visits, College Fairs, or campus tours. Admission Counselors may track your engagement as demonstrated interest. Ask thoughtful and genuine questions, but be sure to check the school’s website FIRST for answers!
  • PLAN TO VISIT SCHOOLS. Make a specific plan to visit schools of interest in the spring or summer of your junior year. Visiting will help you decide where you want to apply. It may be most helpful to visit when the school is in session. This will help you to gain a better perspective of the student life, faculty, and staff. You may even get to watch classes. Check the school’s website for “Junior Days” or campus visit information. Schedule an official tour and take specific notes on each visit (file in your College File).
  • CONSIDER SUMMER PLANS & APPLY IF NECESSARY! Consider applying for camps, summer programs, work opportunities, or volunteer services that require applications. These kinds of application are typically due in the winter and spring months.

Spring / Summer:

  • CONTINUE TO TAKE STANDARDIZED TEST(S): Register for spring and again for summer tests respectively.
  • ATTEND COLLEGE WORKSHOPS. Attend Spring and Summer College Workshops to get a head start on your application material. Applications often open August 1st and the College Admissions Process is nonstop from there!
  • CONTINUE RESEARCH. Use online resources to learn more about colleges of interest. Visit any schools (or even school types) to which you may apply. Visit colleges when in session to help you better decide if the school or school type is a good fit. Summer can be a great time for Admissions Counselors to meet with you and your parents.
  • SCHEDULE YOUR RISING SENIOR SUMMER MEETING. Watch for announcements regarding rising senior summer meetings with your College Counselor and sign up. Plan to meet at school on your designated date. The meeting should last approximately 45 minutes. We will discuss your working college list and the application requirements for your schools.
  • REQUEST RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE SPRING OR SUMMER! You will likely need at least one teacher recommendation for each application. Sometimes you may need two or more. Politely ask the teacher(s) who know you best if they would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation. This will give your teacher(s) plenty of time to complete it. Then they will have it done and ready when it comes time to submit your applications!

Before August 1 of your Senior Year:

  • DISCUSS MONEY MATTERS. Discuss the financial cost of college with your parents. Review the tuition, room & board, and other fees of schools you are considering. Look to see what scholarships are offered. Discuss the feasibility of colleges net price (the price after financial aid and scholarships). If the cost is beyond your budget prepare specific questions for an Admissions Counselor. Inquire about merit and/or need-based aid and work study opportunities.
    • Check out these helpful articles on paying for college from here.
  • FINALIZE YOUR COLLEGE LIST & GET A HEAD START ON APPLICATION MATERIAL! Decide which schools you plan to apply and review application requirements. Begin referencing your journal (your high school chronicles). Type application information in a Word Document to copy and paste into your online applications when the time comes.