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College Planning Checklist for 11th Graders

Junior year of high school is a key point in the college planning process; between preparing for standardized tests to keeping up with extracurriculars, this year is full of hard work, reflection, discovery, and much more. 

But what’s all of that hard work if you don’t have a plan? Let’s review a game plan to follow during your junior year that’ll keep you on track for applying to college! 

🍂 September-December To-Do's ❄️

Self-discovery: Make lists! What are your skills? What are your favorite classes? What are you possibly interested in studying in college? What careers intrigue you? Scoir students can use YouScience to answer these questions and more. Through a series of brain games, you can unearth careers that align with your aptitudes and interests.


College discovery: Now’s the time to begin building your college list. Don't overthink it right now. Getting started can be the hardest part, but once you do, don't be afraid to let your list grow at the start of 11th grade! Students in Scoir can discover colleges and build their lists using My Colleges, collaborate with counselors and parents/guardians, and begin to find recommendations based on similarities. 


Build your calendar: Get a hold of your high school’s upcoming college visits and/or college fairs in the area. These are great opportunities to connect with college representatives. Pick a few you'd like to attend!


Take the PSAT/NMSQT®: This test is given in October. If you’ll need accommodations, make sure to plan and ask early. 


Consider your financial aid need: Begin thinking about college finances and talking openly as a family. It’s never too early to start thinking about finances and exploring tools and calculators to help you get an idea of what college might cost you. Students who link with their parents/guardians in Scoir can work together to use our cost calculator. 


Register with NCAA (if you haven't already): If you’re a student-athlete planning to play in college, make sure you register with the NCAA.


☃️ January-May To-Do's 🌸

Sign up for a spring test: Whether it’s your first test or you want to test again, look into available spring dates for the SAT and/or ACT and register online. If you require a fee waiver, make sure you ask ahead of time!


Study for and take AP Exams: If you’re taking Advanced Placement courses, make sure you are prepared for and signed up for exams in May. 


Let your list bloom: Continue researching colleges based on type, major, cost, and more. For students on Scoir, check out the Compare Colleges feature to view colleges side-by-side and gain an understanding of what a best-fit college looks like to you. 


Time to break out your calendar again! Pencil in some chances to further explore colleges on your list–whether that’s an in-person or online visit, college fair, or a few hours of online research.


Understand sources of financial aid: Winter is a great time to wrap your mind around the available sources of financial aid for college. Conduct your research and make time to talk as a family. 


Request letters of recommendation: Usually, students request a letter of recommendation from an 11th-grade core subject teacher, so choose wisely and try to ask before leaving for summer!


☀️ June-August To-Do's 🌅

Are you considering ROTC? If so, you should begin the application process before the summer.


Prepare for the FAFSA: The FAFSA will open on October 1st of your senior year. You’ll want to apply as soon as possible after it’s available. Over the summer months, make sure you create a username and password (FSA ID) and collect financial documents like tax returns. 


Visit colleges near and far: As time and budget allow, take the spring and summer to visit campuses. Connect with and talk to as many faculty and current students as you can to gain an understanding of what you're looking for in your best-fit college. 


Create a portfolio or resume: Record and collect the accomplishments, extracurriculars, and work experience that you have accumulated over your high school career. Students can use Scoir to collect this type of information, auto-format a resume, and export it for use!


Consider drafting your college essay: Summer is a great time to–at the very least–brainstorm topics for your college essay and pick a date for when you are going to start writing. 


Keep busy: Stay active over the summer! Whether that’s by bagging groceries, signing up to be a camp counselor, or participating in a summer program...just stay active! Here are some ways to make the most of your summer.

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