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An Action Plan for Your Junior Year of High School

It is February 2021 and a question I have answered many times this winter is: “Is it too late for my junior to begin the college process?” I always applaud the parents who contact me now as this is a perfect time to begin the college search and admissions’ process.  There is a lot of information that can be gathered and decisions to be made that will help to ensure a smooth, somewhat stress-free Fall, when those college applications are due.

The coronavirus as upended some of the actions that families can now take.  But there is still a lot that can be done during the spring of your junior year.   Listed below are some steps all juniorsCollege admissions should be considering:

  1. Meet with your school counselor. In many high schools, this meeting is happening virtually.  Discuss your college plans and listen to their suggestions for colleges and senior year courses. Find out your current cumulative GPA and class rank.
  2. The entire testing process is one of the actions that has been severely curtailed due to COVID-19. As of this writing, over 1650 colleges are now completely test-optional, which means that a neither an ACT or SAT is required for college admission.  I strongly recommend, though, that all juniors take the exam at least once, in case the colleges they are interested in do require the testing. Check with your guidance counselor about testing options and plan to take the test sometime in the spring of your junior year.
  3. As a family, discuss the criteria you are looking for in a college. In addition to major, consider geographic location, extra-curricular activities at the college, diversity, opportunities such as study abroad and internships, etc. List these criteria, and then create a list that fits within with what you want.
  4. Visiting colleges is another action that has been severely curtailed. Many students in the class of 2022 haven’t been able to visit even one campus.  But there are steps you can take to learn more information about the school before applying to the college:

A. Review in detail the college’s website. Keep a list of:

    • What you like about the college
    • What you don’t like about the college
    • Any questions you may have.

B.  Once you have created this list, contact the admissions office at the school to ask them your questions. Also, ask them about the possibility of an in-person visit.

C.  Check out any YouTube or Niche Videos about the school

D.  Ask friends and family if they know of a student who goes to this school. If possible, talk to the student and ask them your questions.  Don’t forget to ask about the food, dorms and anything they would change about the school.

E.  Find out when it is safe to travel visit the colleges in person.

Once you have completed all of these steps, you should have a solid list of colleges and know their college requirements. Your next step, which can begin before you leave for the summer, is to ask teachers for recommendations both in person and in writing.

At Launching College Success, we have years of experience in coaching students through all aspects of the college admissions’ process.  If interested, get in touch at 240-285-1920 or

2021 Spring Test Dates

SAT Test               Registration Deadline

March 13                 February 12

May 8                      April 8

June 5                     May 6

ACT Test              Registration Deadline

April 7                     March 12

June 12                   May 7

July 17                     June 18