You won't be applying until next year, but did you know that you have important college-prep things to do during Junior year? Spoiler alert, YOU DO!
First thing: Taking the PSAT-NMSQT in October. (during the school day on a Wednesday!)
Yep, another test. Sorry! But this is one of the best ways for you to prepare for taking the SAT (or ACT), which we'll talk about later in this post.
This test (when taken during Junior year) can qualify you for some scholarship money as well! So do your best!
#PROTIP, if you don't already have one, set up a College Board account using an email (that you are actually going to remember...) This is important, because once you take the PSAT, you can log into your College Board account to view personalized study materials and questions to help you best prepare for the SAT (or the ACT too) from KHAN ACADEMY. And best of all, it's FREE. Click here for more info.
#ProTip2- you should use your own email address for your College Board account. Please don't use a parent's. It's awkward. Really. Because throughout this school year (and ESPECIALLY during senior year) you're going to need to be accessing your College Board account and sending scores and such and chances are high that you'll forget your log in info, especially if it's not your info. So use an email you check often and a password that you will actually remember.
Next, actually use the KHAN ACADEMY RESOURCES (see above) for study prep. Why? Because it can help you target areas of weakness so that you can do your best when you take the SAT (or ACT) in the future.
So when do you actually take the SAT or ACT?
We recommend that students take the SAT and/or ACT for the first time in their junior year. Most juniors will choose to take this test in the Spring of their Junior year. Taking the test in Junior year is recommended because it gives students ample opportunities to retake the test later in their Junior year or during the beginning of Senior year. Many students choose to take the test(s) multiple times in pursuit of higher scores. Want more info? Click here.
Plan ahead because some colleges will also require SAT Subject Tests. You cannot take both the SAT and a SAT subject test on the same day. This is why we recommend that you start your college research process early so you know what may be required when you go to apply.
SAT and ACT tests are only offered a few times throughout the year. And the deadlines to sign up are typically just over 1 month before the test date. SIGN UP EARLY TO GUARANTEE YOU CAN TEST IN A LOCATION YOU PREFER.
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR REGISTERING FOR THE SAT OR ACT. Your counselor can help you with registration if you need it, but we cannot register for you! You do not need to contact us to sign up. Instead, you go to www.CollegeBoard.org (SAT) or www.ACTStudent.org (ACT) to sign up.
*if you are eligible for a fee waiver, see your school counselor IN ADVANCE of signing up for a test. We will give you a card that has a code to take the test for free if you qualify.
VERY VERY VERY VERY IMPORTANT -> you will be asked if you want to take the test with or without the writing portion. Most colleges are going to want to see a writing score. Therefore, we recommend that you take the test the first time with WRITING. If you decide to re-test, you can choose whether or not you want to retake the writing portion. But since you cannot just take the writing portion alone, we recommend doing it during your first test. That way, if you're happy with the rest of your scores, you don't need to sit through the whole thing all over again just to take the writing test later on.
After you take the SAT or ACT (or both) in the Spring of Junior year, you can retest later in the spring, during the summer (limited availability) or in the fall of senior year.
Want more info about SAT and ACT testing? Click here!
Now onto non-testing responsibilities for Junior Year...
Begin to compile a list of colleges you are interested in and start researching them. You need to do your homework and actually research to make sure it's going to be a good fit for you. Researching during Junior Year is important so that you know exactly what you need to do (Testing wise, application wise, etc.) before getting to your senior year.
Junior year is also a GREAT time to VISIT COLLEGES! Spring break... summer vacation, etc. are all great times to visit schools. Don't wait until senior year! You'll be starting college applications typically by October of Senior year, so you need to get most of your researching (and visiting) done before then to have an idea of where to apply to!
DID YOU KNOW? Colleges visits are an excused absence. They are! IF YOU DO A PRE-ARRANGED ABSENCE FORM. Pick one up from the main office at least ONE WEEK BEFORE YOUR VISIT so you can get signatures from your teachers and pick up the work you will miss BEFORE YOU GO.
Some colleges require students to take SAT Subject tests in addition to the traditional SAT test. The SAT subject tests are specific to one content area (e.g. biology, french, etc.). You should plan to take your subject tests by October or November of your senior year in order for colleges to consider the scores for admission. Please note that some colleges may have earlier deadlines, so be sure to look for this information on the school's website.
You can take up to three subject tests on a given date, however, you CANNOT take a subject test on the same day as the SAT main test, so you should plan accordingly. Each test is one hour in duration.
Click here to learn about the SAT subject tests, register for the test, and access practice materials from the College Board.
Remember to register early to ensure you can take a test at your desired location. The registration deadline is typically one month before the test date.
Not all subject tests are offered at each administration. See the chart below for when each subject test is offered for this coming school year.
SAT Subject Test Dates (2015-2016)