Quick Checklist

april prep for HS juniors

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Time to get serious. The next several months will be critical if you plan to make college submission and financial aid deadlines. Stay on course.

Use this checklist to note those tasks that should be completed by the end of the winter months (Jan-Mar):

  • Summer is almost here. You will have only 1 year left before graduating from High School. Any plans after that?
    see fall semester
  • If you are going to college, you need to sit for exams:
    SAT Exam
    ACT College Exam
  • Have you started your college search?
    You need to get that information organized so that you can submit applications this September
  • Understand types of schools:
    1. Colleges:
      generally smaller in size. They offer 4-year degree programs (BA and BS) and many 2-year Associate degrees.
    2. Universities:
      larger institutions with specialized degrees in business, engineering, pre-med, etc. They offer 2-year, 4-year, and many graduate and professional degrees.
    3. Community / Junior Colleges:
      a small college offering 2-year Associate degrees. Many students attend local community colleges with the intent to transfer to a larger institution to further their education.
    4. Online Programs:
      offered by small and large accredited universities. Programs are offered online with potentially some campus visit during the online course.
    5. Vocational / Career Schools:
      specialized schools of training for specialized trade jobs such as mechanics, computer technicians, medical assistants, etc. Programs may vary requiring only a few weeks to complete while others may require a year or more. Upon completion, graduates will receive a license, certificate or an Associate Degree.

Select Your Colleges

april prep for HS juniors

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Finalize your list of colleges or trade schools you'd like to attend.

Your winter semester task was to assemble a list of colleges or trade schools you'd like to attend.

You were to meet with your school's guidance counselor to discuss your plans and to arrange important campus visits. You need to finalize this task to get your college admission papers ready for submission.

Your search categories should include:

  1. search list of 2-3 schools that you could definitely get in
  2. search list of 4-5 schools that you could probably get in
  3. search list of 7-8 schools that you would like to get in

College - University Search

search 4-year colleges-universities
search community colleges
search online schools and programs
search vocational and career schools

What Should You Look For in a School?

  • Private or Public:
    private schools are generally more expensive - but many of them are ranked as some of the best schools for graduate hires. Public schools are generally less expensive and in some cases, much larger.
  • Size:
    universities like the Big-10 can have enrollments 40K+ students. This big universities have large classroom sizes for starting undergrads. Smaller school are a better teacher-to-student ratio. Their curriculum may not be as extensive as larger schools.
  • Location:
    some schools are in urban settings; other schools situated on isolated campus locations. If you select an urban setting, issues such as safety come into play. Schools on isolated campuses may not have urban amenities that may be or your liking.
  • Type of Curriculum:
    larger schools have a wide array of curriculum that is ideal for students not knowing off hand what they want to major in. But if you are leaning towards one major or another, your task is to find the school that ranks high in your base of discipline
  • Quality of Education:
    every major 4-year institution has one area where they are strong but other programs may be weak. Again, you need to view rankings and reviews from other attending students
  • Cost:
    cost is a factor is any college selection. Your goal is to avoid accumulating debt so you can attend a higher price school over a less expensive school. There are school that offer exceptional education at a lower cost. Make sure you compare all costs when selecting school including cost of tuition, fees, housing, supplies, and transportation cost for a trip home during the holidays.
  • Admission Requirements:
    most schools have standard admittance requirements. But there are school that give higher weighting to SAT test vs. ACT text exams. So check your school entrance exam requirements in order to qualify.
  • Help with Financial Aid:
    financial aid includes grants, scholarships, work study, student loans and other aid resources to defray the total cost of education. Review peer reviews on the quality of the financial aid services of one school over another. .
  • Housing Resources:
    it is true that some school have poor or no housing services available; it is entirely up to you to find housing - especially in urban schools. Housing can go fast. So if you decide on a school, get your housing needs settled quickly.
  • Nearby Facilities:
    campus life can be a lot of fun, but you may want to get away from the "campus feeling". So check around for facilities such as outdoor recreation, urban amenities, and other entertainment..
  • Campus Life:
    what is campus life at one school over another? You best option is to visit the campus, review the facilities, and review peer groups from current students. You may find some schools are quite boring.
  • Security:
    a key issue to review, especially with urban schools that often invite criminal activities. But note that even the isolated campuses have problems. View the security safety features the college offers, especially when your visit the campus.
  • Lifestyle:
    now what this? Well if you attend a religious-affiliated school, certain actives may not be permissible. On the other hand, if you attend a very liberal leaning university, you may find the lifestyle a bit much for you. Again, review peer reviews and other online information regarding campus lifestyle and activities.

Compare n' Rank

april prep for HS juniors

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Compare your choice of schools head-to-head and take a virtual tour of the campus. Begin grouping your college choices and rank them based on your selection criteria:

  • College Comparison and Profiles
    compare colleges by region and cost:
    you can profile two or more colleges on cost, student size, teacher ratio, and other criteria:
  • College Rankings
    view college rankings by school criteria and other rankings
    view rankings in our tool set
  • Take a Virtual Tour
    this is good place to start prior to making an actual visit. See online videos of school campus and other virtual places:

You should plan to make a college visit before submitting your application.

The cost to attend college can be high for many schools. So make sure this is the right school for you. Start to arrange campus visits with your select colleges and meet with college recruiters that visit your school.

Tips When Visiting a Campus

Take notes and pictures when visiting a campus. This will help you make a comparison when it comes time to make a final decision:

  • Plan to visit the college for a full day.
    Attend when the school is in session, if possible.
  • Arrange an interview with the admission office
    or other "campus visit" groups
  • Meet with the financial aid office
    to get all related financial aid information offered by that school
  • When doing a visit,
    check out the library, student unions, sporting facilities, and academic centers. Walk the campus to familiarize yourself with the layout.
  • Review housing facilities and dormitories
    to determine whether to live on-campus or off-campus housing. Note the college rules for housing. Some colleges require first-time Freshmen to live in dormitories.
  • Schedule time to speak with students and faculty. Visit the clubs and societies that are part of the campus life. Check campus rules, safety programs, and facilities that maintain the safety of the campus.
  • Drive around the surrounding community
    to familiarize yourself with restaurants, theaters, rec areas, job opportunities, etc.

Find a Summer Job

april prep for HS juniors

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Use the summer to raise money you will need for college. Money earned can be used for tuition, housing, transportation and for fun entertainment.

If you worked last summer with a job you liked, go back and see if you can work with them again this coming summer. Or try to find a different summer job that fits your career goals:

jump over to our job center to search summer opportunities

More Job Related Sites

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  • Summer work programs:
    Job listing for teens from many brand-name retail and other name companies:
    another posting of summer jobs:
    job postings exclusively for teens:

  • Internship Programs:
    internships in your field of interest is a great way to get experience that will help you college


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By building the discipline in four distinct character traits.

1) physical
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Making the Move!

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What do you need when you move to college?

1) bed sheets
2) toothbrush
3) cooling fan
4) medicine box
5) hand vac
6) plus so much more

Grab our college moving checklist to help you pack for the big move

FREE: Moving Checklist

Save on Textbooks

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The cost of college textbooks can run as high as $800-$1,000 or more per semester. So shop around for:

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2) used textbooks
3) rental textbooks

Shop and compare best deals from multiple online merchants.

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Job Center

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So what kind of jobs are availabe in your study at college?

Let's take a look to see if opportunities in your field are available and what skills sets you need:

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3) execution

Open our success module for FREE guides on these key success points.

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