College Admissions

RISING JUNIORS: Top 10 Things to do this Summer to get a Head Start on the College Application Process

By Tonya DuBois

Junior year is, without a doubt, the most challenging year of high school, academically. Help reduce your stress by doing whatever you can the summer before Junior year to get started on your college search and application process. Here are some suggestions:

1. Be sure to like/follow the following Facebook pages for helpful updates and reminders:
2. Get a summer job or internship, or participate in a community service activity that is consistent with your desired area of study and/or special talent.
3. Take some practice PSAT tests online.
4. Look at the SAT and/or ACT testing schedule and put the relevant registration dates and testing dates on your calendar. I suggest that you take one ACT and one SAT sometime in the winter (January is a good time). You can decide which test you prefer, then work on some test prep before taking one of those tests again in the Spring. I recommend that you take SAT II Subject Tests in the spring (May/June) around the time you are taking your final exams. (Very few colleges still require these, but if you believe you will apply to the most highly selective schools and/or colleges inside the California system, be sure to take some SAT IIs. Some STEM majors also require them in a relevant subject.)
5. If you are an athlete, register with the NCAA Eligibility Center, and familiarize yourself with the specific rules:
6. Read a book (not assigned in school) on a topic that interests you – preferably in the area of your intended major or of your extra-curricular interests. Be prepared to talk about this book in future college interviews.
7. If you don’t have one already, establish an “appropriate” e-mail address for contact with colleges.
8. Research colleges and start to develop a list of safety, target, and reach schools that you would like to consider with safety and target schools being your primary focus.
9. Once you know which colleges/universities interest you most:
a. Call their Admission Office to get on their mailing list
b. Follow their Social Media pages
c. Start scheduling campus visits. You should visit a few different “types” of colleges – large/small, urban/suburban, specialty/liberal arts to see which type feels like the best fit.
10. Read my blog for other helpful information: