Time for juniors to get serious about college

It's time for juniors to spring into action. Ideally, high school juniors have already been thinking about college and investigating choices, but now is the time for action. As a parent, you know time goes by very quickly. This year's graduating seniors would agree.

Juniors should:

• Continue to take challenging courses. When registering for senior year, they shouldn't just sign up for easy courses because that will hurt chances for college admission. Also, students who go the easy route will pay when they arrive at college and can't handle the coursework.

• Begin to make a preliminary list of colleges to investigate further. Use the Internet and counseling office or library resources to research options.

• Fill out a college comparison worksheet. ACT offers one to download at the junior year college planning checklist.

• Make plans to visit colleges this spring when classes are in session.

• Create a record of academic and extracurricular activities. Like a resume, list all honors and club, athletic and volunteer activities, including dates and notable achievements. A complete record will help when filling out applications in the months to come.

• Have a Social Security number— or get one as soon as possible. It will be needed for college applications.

• Register for the ACT test. Juniors should be academically ready to take it by spring of this year. If not, they should plan to take it in the summer or fall, work hard in school and check out ACT's free practice questions.

• Check into applying to college online.

• Begin investigating scholarship opportunities.

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2009-10-29 digital edition

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