The 11th grade is a pivotal year for preparing to go to college. You will not apply to college your junior
year, but many of the things you do during this year will significantly impact your college application. Here
are some things you need to do during the 11th grade so that you are ready for college.
1) Take the PSAT
This exam is not required for entrance into college. However, you can get a scholarship based on your
score. The Federal Student Aid website points out that you must take this exam during your junior year in
order to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship program.
2) Prepare for the SAT or ACT
The sooner you can begin taking these exams, the more opportunities you will have to get a better score
before you need to apply for college. Most students take these exams during the fall or spring of their
junior year. This allows at least one more opportunity to take the exam before you will begin applying to
colleges. You don’t need to rush it though, if you don’t feel prepared, take the test in the spring instead of
3) Take Advanced Courses
Colleges like to see that you have challenged yourself. You don’t have to take advanced or AP courses in
every subject, but choose a few that interest you. You can also take SAT subject tests as you complete
courses in related material. This will cut back on the amount of time needed to review and prepare for the
4) Delve Into Extracurriculars
Instead of adding more extracurriculars, find a way to excel at the clubs, sports or organizations you are
already involved in. Colleges prefer quality over quantity and want to see that you have demonstrated
commitment, leadership, and improvement in your extracurriculars. My College Options, suggests
seeking out a leadership role in an extracurricular during the 11th grade.
5) Start Narrowing Your Options
Do research on colleges and careers that interest you. Seek out alumni to talk to. Find a professional to
discuss a career that interests you. Plan college visits. Start making a list of colleges that interest you and
discover what your best options are. Don’t forget to look into financial options such as scholarships,
grants and student loans.
The more you prepare during your junior year, the less stressful applying to colleges will be during your
senior year. The grades you earn, exam scores you receive, and the outside activities you pursue will
help you achieve entrance into the university of your choice.
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