College Tips for Junior Year
Continue to take college prep and college level courses. Maintain a high GPA. Choose a college prep schedule for your senior year. Don’t think it is time to slack! A college prep curriculum includes 4 English, 4 Math, 4 Science (at least 2 lab science), 3 Social Studies, 2-3 Foreign Language, and 1 Fine Art (music or art).
The top three criteria colleges consider are ACT/SAT scores, course history, and GPA. Some colleges may consider class rank, essays, recommendations, extracurricular activities, and interviews.
Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities
To view a list of clubs and activities at SHS, consult your student handbook.
Explore Career Options
What you want to do after high school will determine the level of education you will need. Visit the Ohio Means Jobs website to research occupations and take career assessments.
Complete College Testing
Take the PSAT test in October. Not only does this help prepare you for the SAT, juniors can qualify for the National Merit Scholarship program. See your counselor to sign up.
Take the ACT and the SAT at least once by the end of your junior year, maybe twice! Prepare for them. There are study guides available check the local library and the testing websites. SHS and Edison offer an ACT test prep class. Students receiving free or reduced lunch may get a fee waiver. See your counselor. Register online for the tests.
How to Prep for the ACT- https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/act-resource-guide/
How to Prepare for the SAT- https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/sat-resource-guide/
Narrow down your list of colleges to 7-10 schools. Collect information about the application procedures, admission requirements, course offerings, tuition and fees, size and location, student activities, room and board costs, and financial aid (scholarships, grants, student loans, work study). Do NOT select a college because: It is where your boyfriend/girlfriend is going, It is where your best friend is going, or it is a party school.
If admission is:
Highly Selective: most students rank in the top 10% of the class, have very strong academics, and average an ACT of 27-36 or a SAT of 1220-1600
Selective: most students rank in the top 25% of the class, have strong academics, and average an ACT of 22-27 or a SAT of 1150-1230
Traditional: most students rank in the top 50% of the class, have good academics, and average an ACT of 20-23 or a SAT of 950-1070
Liberal: students accepted from lower half of class and average an ACT of 18-21 or a SAT of 870-990
Open: all students that apply are accepted to the limit of the school's capacity
Talk to your parents and your counselor about college.
Visit college campuses (3 college visit days for seniors; 2 for juniors). Make an appointment prior to visit by contacting the college’s admission office. At the visit, make sure your parents go with you since they will probably be helping you pay for college. Talk with someone in admissions and be prepared with questions. Talk with someone in financial aid to find out what is available. Talk with students and faculty. Sit in on a class/visit facilities where you will have your “major” classes. Take a campus tour. Stay overnight if possible. Check-out the dorms, library, student activity center, etc. Eat on campus. Learn about campus activities, sports, and organizations.
The college application process begins in the fall of your senior year.
Apply to the NCAA Clearinghouse
Apply at the end of your junior year if you are plan to play Division I or Division II college sports. Transcripts must be requested from the SHS Counseling Department. The first three transcripts are free and cost $3 each after that. There is no charge for transcrips sent electronically. Most colleges and universities require that transcripts are sent directly to the school. When you take the ACT, have your scores sent directly to the Clearinghouse by filling in their code under the colleges/scholarship box. The code is 9999. http://web1.ncaa.org/ECWR2/NCAA_EMS/NCAA.jsp
Understand Financial Aid
Attend a financial aid meeting during conferences with your parents. Research scholarships on the SHS website and sign up with national search engines. The majority of college scholarships are for students in their senior year. However, research what you are eligible to apply for to prepare for next year.
College Tips for Senior Year
Take Campus Visits
Contact the college admissions office to arrange a meeting (No visits during count week in October). Once the meeting is arranged, see your counselor for a college visit pass or download from the website. Give the pass to attendance before going and bring back proof. Seniors are allowed 3 visits.
- Make sure your parents go with you
- Talk with someone in admissions – be prepared with questions
- Talk with someone in financial aid and find out what is available
- Talk with students and faculty
- Sit in on a class
- Take a campus tour
- Stay overnight, if possible
- Check-out the dorms, library, student activity center, etc.
- Have a meal on campus
- Find out about campus activities, sports and organizations
Apply to College
Narrow your list to 3-4 colleges. Make sure you have one "safe" school. Check with the college’s admissions office or visit their website for information on what you need to do to apply. Colleges prefer online applications. If you are on free and reduced lunch, you may be able to waive the application fee. See your counselor.
For some colleges, you have to complete the Common Application. Under school forms, you must type in the counselor name and email address. The counselor will have to write a letter of recommendation. See your counselor when you complete the Common Application and give at least two weeks notice.
Meet Application Deadlines
The counseling department suggests filling out applications for each college by Thanksgiving, no later than Christmas. If you have a first-choice college, consider applying early decision (a binding commitment to enroll if accepted) by November 1 or early action (gives students the benefit of an early yes or no without the commitment to attend) by December 1. When applying, you also want to be aware of scholarship deadlines. Have your materials in by that date, so you can be eligible for the school-specific scholarships.
Some colleges/scholarships require letters of recommendation. If they do, choose adults who know you well, such as teachers, coaches, or employers. You will want to ask them to write about your talents and abilities, both academic and otherwise. Include a pre-addressed, stamped envelope so the writer can return the recommendation letter on time. Give them at least two weeks notice.
Transcripts must be requested from the SHS Counseling Department. The first three transcripts are free and cost $3 each after that. There is no charge for transcrips sent electronically. Most colleges and universities require that transcripts are sent directly to the school. Turn in request no later than one week before the deadline.Contact the college to make sure they have received all of your application materials. Some colleges allow you to check your status online.
ACT = www.actstudent.org
SAT = www.collegeboard.com
If you are on Free/Reduced Lunch, you can have your fees waived. See your counselor. Make sure you send your test to four colleges. Otherwise, you have to pay a fee to have them sent. Study before taking the ACT/SAT using online resources, software, and/or study guide books. SHS and Edison offer an ACT prep class.What scores are colleges looking for?
Highly Selective (top 10% of class) – ACT = 27-36 / SAT = 1220-1600
Selective (top 25% of class) – ACT = 22-27 / SAT = 1150-1230
Traditional (top 50% of class) – ACT = 20-23 / SAT = 950-1070
Liberal (many accepted from lower half) – ACT = 18-21 / SAT = 870-990
Open (all accepted to limit of capacity) – ACT = 17-20 / SAT = 830-950
Attend the Annual SHS Financial Aid Night
Search and Apply for Scholarships
Scholarships are free money, so apply for as many as you can! Check the high school website for the latest scholarship listings. Paper applications are located in the guidance department. Search the Internet. Contact college financial aid offices for school-specific scholarships. Watch their deadlines. BEWARE of scams. You do not have to pay to find money.
Apply to the NCAA Clearinghouse
If you didn't apply at the end of your junior year, you need to register with the Clearinghouse if you plan to play Division I or II sports in college. Transcripts must be requested from the SHS Counseling Department. The first three transcripts are free and cost $3 each after that. There is no charge for transcrips sent electronically. Most colleges and universities require that transcripts are sent directly to the school. When you take the ACT, have your scores sent directly to the Clearinghouse by filling in their code under the colleges/scholarship box. The code is 9999.http://web1.ncaa.org/ECWR2/NCAA_EMS/NCAA.jsp
Periodically Check Counseling Bulletin Boards
The bulletin boards will contain ACT information, college info, scholarships, and college fairs.
Complete the FAFSA
Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) www.fafsa.ed.gov as soon as possible after January 1. The FAFSA is the federal form the U.S. Department of Ed. uses to determine how much federal student aid you qualify for. The FAFSA worksheet that is on the website will help you complete the form online. Even if your parents "make too much money," completing the FAFSA gives you the opportunity to borrow federal loans, which may be at a reduced interest rate than private loans.
Apply for FAFSA Pin. The PIN is the code that the U. S. Department of Education uses to identify you online. If you are completing the FAFSA by paper, you do not need to request a pin. Online applications are preferred. Visit www.pin.ed.gov Students and parents should each receive their own PINs. Click on "Apply for PIN" on the right hand side of the page. Men 18 or older must register for the selective service to receive federal financial aid.
The following are resources for helping you complete the FAFSA. Edison Community College will offer College Goal Sunday in February. Take your forms with you and they will help you complete the FAFSA. You can call 1-800-4 Fed Aid or 1-877-I Attain. Additional Financial Aid information can also be found at www.finaid.org
Review your Student Aid Report (SAR)
After you complete your FAFSA, you will receive your SAR. This will tell you your expected family contribution (EFC). This is how much the federal government says your parents should contribute to your schooling. However, you will not know how much you will have to pay until you receive your award letter from your college. If you provided an email address, you should receive your SAR within a week of submitting the FAFSA by email. Check the information and make sure it is correct. Submit any changes. Copies of your SAR will also be sent to up to six colleges of your choice.
Compare Financial Aid Award Letters
If you applied for financial aid and completed all of the steps, you will receive award letters from the colleges that accepted you. Your award letter shows how much financial aid is offered to you. The awards may be in the form of grants, loans, work-study, and/or scholarships. You do not have to accept all or any of your awards.
Pick Your College
You should receive acceptance letters by mid-April. Accept your college’s admission and financial aid offers by the deadlines noted. Send deposits and sign all paperwork. Contact and decline the award offers from the colleges you do not plan to attend.
Request Final Transcripts
Final transcripts must be sent to your college and to the NCAA Clearinghouse. Transcripts must be requested from the SHS Counseling Department. The first three transcripts are free and cost $3 each after that. There is no charge for transcrips sent electronically. Most colleges and universities require that transcripts are sent directly to the school.
Use these resources to help plan you college experience:
Guide to Finding Accredited Online Degrees: