Posted by Gerrin T. Alexander

August 08, 2019 at 5:00 PM


Below you will find a list of things you should do to prepare for the college application process and college starting your junior year of high school.

List of Colleges

If you haven’t started already, you need to do so NEOWWWW. Like, right now. I’m dead serious. Start narrowing down the colleges you are going to apply to early because there are a number of factors that go into choosing this list. This will give you time to revise and make adjustments to your list given that a lot of things are subject to change before your senior year of high school, including your college goals or career path. Plus, this will force you to do some introspection to figure out the kind of career you want to pursue and where you want to spend the next few years working towards that goal.

Standardized Testing

I’m sure most, if not all, students can agree that the most dreadful part of your junior year of high school is standardized testing. For most, the ACT and the SAT act as the required entrance exams for college-bound teens. As stressful as these exams can be, reduce stress by finding a fun and entertaining test prep program like Prepmedians to help you ace the exams.

There are two main benefits to taking these exams your junior year: 1. By your junior year, you will have learned most of the material tested on the exam (even though Prepmedians would be a strong refresher for you). 2. This gives you plenty of time to make a second, third, fourth, etc. attempt if you don’t do so well the first time around. Check out my article Should I Retake the ACT/SAT? to help you make your decision.

Waiting until senior year to take the tests puts you at risk of inadequate preparation and limited opportunities to take the exam before college applications are due. Minimize stress by not waiting until the last minute.


Your GPA is important, we all know that, but even if you don’t have straight A’s there’s still hope and a lot of it. Some colleges may not care about a perfect 4.0 GPA as much as they care about a gradual or exponential upward trend in your grades. This shows that you’re improving and adjusting over time while gaining more knowledge. However, this does not mean that you can take a break because your junior year grades are probably scrutinized more than any other year. Therefore, the grind never stops; so, you must buckle down and hone in on your studies.


The extracurricular activities you’re involved in contribute to what sets you apart from other applicants in the college application process. This allows schools to get a glimpse into who you are as a person, so join clubs, organizations, sports, etc. that you are passionate about. It’s not about having the most clubs listed on your resume, but elevating to a meaningful leadership role for being a longstanding, active member. Show that you have some influence and authority in these clubs.


Once you hit your junior year of high school, scholarships become readily available for you to apply to. Check your school’s guidance counseling office or speak with a counselor to find scholarship opportunities on a local, state, and national level. Find scholarships that are a good fit for who you are as a person and what you want to do. I hate to break it to you, but most college students go broke at some point during their college career, so any amount of money to pay off tuition and loans goes a long way.

Getting ready for college can be stressful and nerve-racking, but it’s also exciting because of everything that you’ll be gaining from the experience (knowledge, relationships, independence, etc.) Simply follow this guide and you’ll be off to a great start in your college journey!

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Posted by Gerrin T. Alexander

Gerrin scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT in high school and is currently studying Economics and Public Policy at The University of Chicago. Fun fact: She has done the #wopchallenge on nearly every corner of the campus, including the quad.