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Year by Year Guide 11th

Junior year is an important time in the college admissions process. The formal college advising program will begin this year.  The following is a college admissions calendar for the junior year as we present it directly to our students. It provides a good overview of what students may expect and what they need to do over the year.


  • Concentrate on doing well in your classes. Remember that junior and senior year grades are often weighed more heavily than freshman and sophomore year grades in the college admissions process.
  • Begin thinking about preferences in colleges such as location, size, liberal arts or technical emphasis, coed or single-sex, activities available, majors available, cost, etc.  You will have your first meeting with the college counseling team to discuss goals.
  • Do a general search using criteria you’ve set for yourself on college information websites:
  • Begin preparing for the PSAT and SAT Reasoning Test. You may read preparation books on your own.
  • Or visit: http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/
  • Attend the Regional College Fair.  This will be done during the school day.
  • Begin working through your You Science profile.
  • Representatives from colleges will visit Habersham in the fall. Attend these visits and come prepared with questions.  Check the visit schedule regularly.


  • Take the PSAT. Although the sophomore year PSAT was given for practice, the junior year scores may qualify you for National Merit Semifinalist status and make you eligible for possible National Merit scholarships.
  • Mark on your PSAT answer sheet that you wish to receive materials from colleges, and schools will send you information if your PSAT score suggests that you might qualify for admission.
  • Complete your You Science profile.
  • Sign up for and attend the college road trip.


  • Juniors who feel prepared to take the SAT Reasoning Test can take their first administration of the SAT in November (you can opt to take the SAT for the first time in January as well).


  • PSAT scores will be mailed to you. Estimate your SAT score based on the PSAT handbook. Establish what areas you need to work on and organize a study routine to improve those areas.
  • For students who feel prepared to take the ACT and want to take that test instead of or in addition to the SAT, December is a good time to take the ACT for the first time (you can opt to take the ACT for the first time in February as well).
  • Enjoy having a break from school!


  • Start the second semester working hard in your classes. Strong second-semester grades may be a key factor in an admission decision. Remember admission committees often weigh junior and senior year grades more heavily than grades you earned earlier in high school.
  • You will get mail from colleges based on your PSAT scores. Read the materials thoroughly from the schools you find most interesting. They contain a great deal of information and will help you narrow down your choices.
  • Plan college visits for later in the spring. Colleges offer information sessions and tours year round, but the spring is one of the most popular times to visit, so sessions and tours book up early. You will find more flexibility and access if you plan in advance – especially if you plan to visit colleges during spring break.
  • January is a good time to make your summer plans. Many summer college programs, internships, or study abroad programs have February or March deadlines.


  • Between now and the end of the school year, parents may schedule a meeting with the counseling staff as well. We encourage all parents to take an active role in your student’s college search and application process.
  • Plan college visits. The spring sessions and tours book up early. You will find more flexibility and access if you plan in advance – especially if you plan to visit colleges during spring break.
  • Register for the March/April SAT. We strongly urge all juniors to take the SAT or ACT at least one time before the end of junior year.


  • We strongly urge all juniors who have not already taken the SAT or ACT to take the SAT in March or the ACT in early April.
  • Plan college visits for spring break.
  • Continue to focus on your studies. Doing well in school during second semester junior year can make a big difference.
  • The college advising staff is available for junior parents and students for meetings to answer questions and plan the months ahead.


  • Continue to gather information and evaluate colleges you are considering.
  • Attend any spring college fairs and evening programs held at area hotels and high schools that catch your eye.
  • Register for the May and/or June SAT Reasoning or Subject Tests. Not all colleges recommend or require Subject Tests (in fact most colleges do not). However, you should determine if the colleges you are considering require them and register for them for the May or June test date (you can take up to 3 Subject Tests on one test date).


  • You may take SAT Subject Tests, or take the SAT Reasoning Test for a second time. Determine which subject tests are recommended by the colleges you are considering. Contact the college advising staff if you have any questions.


  • You may take the SAT Reasoning Test a second time, particularly if you are not satisfied with your score or you are considering applying under an early decision plan; or take the SAT Subject Tests if you did not do so in May and the colleges on your list recommend or require Subject Tests.
  • If you feel your SAT Reasoning Test score could improve with some studying and/or tutoring, the summer is a good time to work on SAT skills.
  • The ACT is also administered in June.

Summer between Junior and Senior Years

  • Visit college campuses in which you are interested, recognizing that you may need to return to some campuses when they are in session to get a complete view of the schools.
  • Most college websites will have a schedule of tours and information about making an appointment.
  • Research the schools on your list you developed with your college advisor. Try to narrow your list to fewer than 10 schools that meet your criteria and accept students with your profile.
  • Request application materials from the colleges on your list. You may do this online or by calling the Office of Admission.
  • Plan to attend summer programs: camp, sports, travel, volunteer, or enrichment programs. Colleges often ask you to write about your summer experiences in an essay or describe them in an interview.
  • If you are not satisfied with your standardized test results, use the summer months to hone your testing skills in a regimented fashion. You could use a tutor or use test prep materials on your own.
  • Begin brainstorming about possible college essay topics and get some words down on paper.
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