January 15, 2024
By Leanne Soulard

Happy New Year! Now that 2024 is officially underway, high school juniors are getting ready to embark on their college planning journeys. At College Edge, we believe that this process can be fun and enjoyable for all students, whether they are working with a private college counselor or not. Planning ahead will keep the stress low and the enthusiasm high!

The college search and application process has upwards of 20 various tasks associated with it, which can feel overwhelming to students and parents. Even if you have an older sibling or child who has gone through the process, every student is different and each journey has its own ups and downs (though, hopefully, more ups than downs). The good news is that the tasks don’t change all that much from year to year and, if you can stay organized, you will have the positive and enjoyable experience that we want for all of our students.

Here’s the short list for this winter and spring:

If you took the PSAT in October, review your score report. While many schools have extended their test-optional admissions policies to the Class of 2025, not all of them have. It’s best to be prepared in the event that you need to submit test scores as part of your application. (One trend we have noticed is that some large, public universities in the South are once again requiring test scores.) Register to take the SAT and/or the ACT at least once this spring.

Begin to develop your initial college list because 1) it’s fun, and 2) it’s absolutely necessary so that you can plan campus visits and information sessions. The biggest regret that many students have at the end of their journey is that they didn’t visit more campuses during junior year. If you’re considering schools that are far away, a virtual information session will suffice. You have to do the research, no exceptions.

Meet with your guidance counselor to review your transcript, discuss your initial college list, and plan courses for next year. Colleges care a lot about your senior year schedule, so make sure you choose challenging courses across all subjects (including that fourth year of world language). Some majors may also have certain prerequisites or particular courses they expect seniors to take, so the sooner you start exploring schools the more prepared you will be to make these choices.

If you can accomplish these preliminary tasks by the end of the school year, you will be on target and ready to dive into the application work over the summer. Stay tuned for tips about how to write an outstanding college essay and highlight your extracurricular activities in future posts!

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