Junior Year


  • Evaluate your performance and your interest in each academic area. Continue to take challenging courses (Honors and AP). Remember to balance taking challenging courses with doing well in them.
  • Focus on your academics remembering that junior year grades are very important to college admission committees.
  • Update the activities list that you began as a freshman.


  • Make use of the college planning resources available in the College Counseling Office, as well as those on the Internet.
  • Prepare for the PSAT that will be taken in October. Remember, juniors who score exceptionally high on the PSAT may be considered for participation in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
  • Numerous college representatives will visit SJCS in the fall. Obviously, schoolwork must come first, but try to attend a few for colleges of particular interest to you. Make sure to review the College Representative visiting schedule on Naviance to see the dates and times that the colleges will be visiting. Make sure to discuss attending these visits with your teacher in advance to determine if you can be released from class. Remember you must sign up at least one day prior to the scheduled visit. Listen to the college representatives’ presentations and ask questions about your particular interests. Pick up information and sign the cards provided by the reps so that you will be added to the schools’ mailing lists.


  • Take the PSAT on the national test date (see school calendar). In the junior year the PSAT is also the NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) and the scores are used to determine who will earn recognition and scholarships.
  • Begin to establish criteria for the type of college that you would like to attend. Begin thinking about preferences in broad terms (location, size, programs, etc.). Use college guides and talk to family, friends, and teachers about their college choices and experiences.


  • Evaluate your first quarter grades and determine what you are doing well and what you need to improve to meet your academic goals for the year. Make sure to meet with your teachers as needed. The grade point average provided to colleges when you apply is cumulative.


  • Study thoroughly for exams and attend any extra help sessions that your teachers offer.
  • PSAT student reports are distributed. Read the information carefully to interpret your performance.
  • Use your grade point average and PSAT scores to determine your academic eligibility for your colleges of interest.


  • You and your parents should plan to attend the Junior Parent Night that will be held in late January/early February. This meeting is extremely helpful in your college planning!
  • Look ahead to spring break as possible opportunities to visit colleges.


  • Begin SAT/ACT preparation and register for the SAT Reasoning Test and the ACT Test this spring (see College Counseling Calendar for dates). You may want to also consider registering for the SAT Subject Tests in May and/or June.
  • Schedule an initial parent-student meeting with your college counselor to discuss your college selection and application process.


  • Continue your college search.
  • Begin thinking about which teachers you will ask to write letters of recommendation on your behalf.
  • Utilize your spring break for college visits.
  • When you visit college campuses, be sure to ask questions, talk to college students, and keep a notebook of what you liked and disliked about each campus.


  • Make your requests for teacher recommendation letters and let your college counselor know what requests have been made. All teacher recommendation letters will be submitted to the college counseling office.
  • Prepare for your AP Exams, if applicable.
  • Take ACT Test.


  • Take SAT Reasoning Test or SAT Subject Tests, if applicable.
  • Take AP Exams, if applicable.
  • Prepare for all of your final exams.


  • Take (or retake) SAT Reasoning Test and/or ACT Test.
  • If appropriate, take SAT Subject Tests in June.
  • If you are considering playing sports in college, make sure that you register with the NCAA Eligibility Center at www.ncaa.net and/or NAIA at www.PlayNAIA.org.
  • Spend your summer productively. Colleges like to see that you have spent your summers doing something productive (summer job, community service, etc.).
  • Visit colleges that you did not see during the school year.
  • Begin to consider essay topics and look for opportunities to use an essay for more than one application. Do rough drafts of essay topics and all applications. You will be glad you did!
  • If needed, schedule another student-parent visit with your college counselor in July and/or August.

General Expectations

  • By the end of your junior year, you should have completed the following: 1. Met with your college counselor a minimum of one to two times. 2. Taken the SAT Reasoning Test and/or ACT Test and taken or registered for the SAT Subject Tests if required by the colleges you are interested in. 3. Established a preliminary list of potential colleges.

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