Winthrop University: Preparing for College - High School Juniors/11th Grade
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High School Juniors

Setting Yourself Up for Success

As a junior, it’s time to step up your search to find the college or university that best fits you.  Colleges and Universities come in all shapes and sizes from small and intimate to large and city wide, from private to public, and varying in every other manner.  Here’s how to narrow down your search and set yourself up for success:

  • Take Charge of your Academics – Historically, junior year is the most academically challenging year of high school.  Take the opportunity to enroll in Honors, AP, IB, Cambridge International or Dual Enrollment Programs to enhance your schedule and even earn college credit.

  • Continue Your SAT & ACT Prep – If you have not taken the PSAT or Pre-ACT yet, consider registering to take it this year. These tests usually happen in October and are used for consideration for the National Merit Scholarship. In the spring of your junior year, we recommend taking both the SAT and ACT to give you more opportunities to take it later on should you need to increase your score.
  • Ramp Up your college Search – Start the process of narrowing down your college list and consider registering for campus visits or special admissions events after considering the following questions:.
    • How far do you want to be from home? Where do you want to be?
    • What would you like to study? Do you have any special programs of interest?
    • What are the admissions requirements? What do you need to get accepted?
    • How much is tuition? What are their financial aid packages like?
    • How large or small of a school would you like to be at?  What is the average class size?
    • What is the student body profile?  What are some of the student organizations?
  • Step Up Your Role – Apply for leadership roles in the school clubs and volunteer organizations you’re a part of to make a difference in your community. This not only looks great on college applications, but builds your leadership, communication and organizational skills.

  • Look into the Cost of Tuition – The cost of tuition is an estimate using the expenses of tuition, housing, meal plans, fee, books and supplies. Understanding the costs of the colleges on your list can help you further narrow down your choices. All colleges and universities offer financial aid and scholarship opportunities with many based off your application and test scores. In addition, you can identify other outside scholarships and grants available to you with the help of your high school counselors.

  • Check Out Net Price Calculator – Many colleges will have a Net Price Calculator on their Financial Aid pages. This helps estimate how much financial aid you might qualify for and what you can realistically expect to pay each semester.

  • Get Ready to Apply for FAFSA - Educate yourself on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and its processes and requirements. It’s important to apply for Student Aid your senior year starting October 1.  The closer to October 1 you apply, the better your chance is for aid! More information on the FAFSA can be found at studentaid.gov

  • Get To Know Your College Counselors – Most colleges and universities have admissions counselors assigned by regions, states, or counties. Check out the university’s admissions page to view counselor contact information, special events and more. Take the opportunity to introduce yourself to the Admissions Counselor for your area or request information on the university. This will put you on the communications list to for events, important dates and more. 

Last Updated: 10/4/21