Junior Year


  • Review your high school course plans and school activities.
  • Ensure that you are on track for graduation and college entrance requirements.
  • Think about how you will pay for college.
  • Talk to your parents about your post-secondary goals.
  • Schedule a meeting with your school counselor.
  • Enroll in courses that will challenge you.
  • Attend College and Career Fairs.

Early Fall

  • Register for the PSAT.
  • Take the PSAT to be entered into the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) competition.
  • Review your academic records (report cards, transcripts, GPA.)
  • Continue to attend College and Career Fairs.
  • Begin to prepare for admission and scholarship essays. What are your interests, educational priorities, and special talents?
  • Check on the nomination process for military academies if you are interested.  You must contact your local state-level elected officials for most military programs.


  • PSAT results are returned.
  • Begin to identify college features that suit your needs. These include size, location, majors, financial opportunities, and social/cultural activities.
  • Review CFNC.org application process.
  • Register for the SAT I, ACT, or SAT II subject tests if appropriate.
  • Study for your finals.
  • Start discussing course selections for your senior year with your teachers and school counselor to ensure you are on track for graduation
  • Student athletes – research NCAA Clearinghouse requirements.


  • Develop your high school resume. If you are taking an AP exam, make sure you register online.
  • Research summer enrichment opportunities and part time jobs.
  • Prepare for final exams.  Colleges will see your final grades.
  • Finalize your course selection for senior year.  See your school counselor if you need help of have any questions.Summer prior to your senior year
  • Visit college campuses.
  • Research potential scholarships.
  • Prioritize college choices
  • Determine deadlines for colleges and scholarships
  • Continue to visit colleges
  • Create/update your resume
  • Register for SAT/ACT if needed
  • Be aware of timeline for competitive scholarships
  • Make sure senior course selections meet college expectations
  • Fill out the “Student Brag Sheet” if you need a recommendation from your school counselor for college admission or a scholarship.
  • Athletes, check NCAA requirements 

Junior Planning Checklist


  • Register and pay to take the PSAT/NMSQT.
  • Check the dates and locations of local college fairs.
  • Attend college fairs.
  • Take the PSAT if necessary.
  • Register for challenging courses (i.e., honors, advanced placement)
  • Refine your lists of schools; eliminate the ones that do not meet your criteria.
  • Visit the websites of the colleges that interest you.
  • Schedule an official tour during a teacher workday, spring break, or summer vacation.
  • Consider taking an SAT prep course to improve your scores. There are many free options online.
  • Register to take the SAT or ACT if appropriate to meet your post secondary goals.
  • Find out which schools require the SAT II subject tests in addition to the SAT test, there are currently 15 subject tests.
  • Consider volunteer experience in your area of interest.
  • Finalize your list of colleges or universities you are interested in.  Include “reach, reasonable, and safety net” schools in your list.
  • Note all college and university admissions deadlines.
  • Register for a CFNC.org account to apply online if you don’t already have one (but you should.)
  • Develop a resume and keep it updated. CFNC.org can keep track of all of these things for you.
  • Conduct scholarship research over the summer. You want to start applying for scholarships at the beginning of your senior year!


  • Help your student make realistic goals.
  • Look at the financial costs for various colleges and discuss them with your student.
  • Have your student start a checklist that includes deadlines and make sure they complete it.
  • Allow your student to make their own future plans.
  • Encourage independence, so that they will complete their own applications (meaning don’t do them for them.)
  • Make sure they keep up their grades and turn in all assignments.
  • Encourage them to do volunteer work and participate in extracurricular activities.
  • Meet with your student’s school counselor and attend any programs that are offered at the school.
  • Make it possible for your student to visit many schools in his/her list.
  • Teach your student how to advocate for themselves respectfully.
  • Encourage your student to sign up for SAT study courses.
  • Instill in your student the importance of deadlines. They will be crucial in their senior year.