As you continue to prepare your student for college, their Junior year is a particularly important year. You really want to work hard at high school advising during junior year, because that’s when the rubber meets the road. The first task for junior year is to take the PSAT; the junior PSAT is the one that qualifies your student for the National Merit Scholarship. It’s the one that counts, and it’s the one for the big money. The test is in October, so sign up for it in September. The next task for junior year is to make sure that your child takes the SAT or the ACT. It doesn’t matter which test they take, but some students do better on one more than the other.
Junior year is the time to find a few colleges that your child wants to apply to. In order to do that, you need to go to a college fair. There are many college fairs, locally and further a field, so make sure you go. It’s also important to eventually visit some colleges. You won’t know what a college is really like unless you visit. Many look good on paper, or seem to be very dedicated to a particular faith, but you won’t know whether it’s really a Christian college or it has just Christian in the name unless you go visit. By the end of their junior year, your child should have decided on a handful of colleges that they want to apply to.
Your goal for senior year is to actually apply to colleges, so you need to decide by the end of junior year which colleges you’re going to apply to. The application process for seniors is very long, and you’ll want plenty of time to complete it.
In Senior year, you really want to have those applications in before Christmas, because the scholarship money is given out first come--first served. The sooner you get your application in, the more likely you are to get the scholarship money, and the easier it is to get housing. In addition, if your student did poorly in testing, they can repeat the SAT or the ACT test during their senior year. If they didn’t take it during junior year, they can still take it in their senior year. And don’t forget to plan a graduation party! That’s the capstone of both their accomplishments and yours!