Top 4 Things High School Students Should Do Before Junior Year

college student social media

There is much attention paid to what should be done to prepare for the senior year of high school, but there are several things high school students should do before junior year. Waiting until 12th grade to begin the college prep process is a big mistake.

In fact, there are many things that can and must be done to prepare for college before senior year rolls around and the summer before junior year is a great time begin.

RELATED: Why you need a resume in 9th grade

Here are four easy things high school students should do before junior year to get the college planning process underway.

4 Easy Things

  1. Hit the Road, Even If It’s Virtual – The summer before junior year is a great time to visit university campuses. In fact, many families roll college visits into their vacation plans. Make sure that you have a smart strategy when it comes to scouting schools. Here are some guidelines that will help bring focus to your next college visit. If you’re doing virtual visits, many of the same questions and guidelines apply!
  2. Put Themselves to the Test – During the summer between 10th grade and 11th grade, plan out a schedule for college admission testing. Be prepared to answer the following questions:
    Which test(s) will my student take (SAT or ACT)? When will he/she test? Do the colleges that my child’s interested in require SAT II Subject tests? Has my student taken any practice tests? Where does he/she stand with his/her scores? Are any of the colleges they’re interested in “test optional”?
  3. Plan to Run For Office – In order to be truly competitive in the college admissions process, students have to demonstrate strong leadership qualities. If you have yet to step up to a leadership position, use this summer to determine a good place to showcase your skills. Parents can help by encouraging their student to consider running for office or to try spearheading a project to establish themself as a leader.
  4. Serve –Almost every college application and scholarship form allows students the chance to spotlight the ways that they have contributed to their communities. Make sure you are seeking out meaningful experiences that will help to contribute to your total academic profile.

RELATED: Middle school is the time to start college prep

If you pay attention to important choices along the way, by the time that senior year arrives, you should be well on the way to success.


Sia Knight is an author, independent college counselor and youth development specialist at

Updated June 2020

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

CampusChat keeps parents, students, educators and counselors informed of college news, tips, and resources -- all delivered directly to your inbox.

Your contact info will not be shared without your permission. We don't like spam and assume you don't either.

You have Successfully Subscribed!