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Juniors: What to do to plan for college

Planning for college is a tedious process. Here are tips to help you as you begin your college search during your junior year.

OCTOBER
  • Take the PSAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). Remember to take your calculator.
  • Inquire about Advanced placement (AP) or summer college courses that may be available to you.
  • Attend college fairs and financial aid/parent nights.
  • Get your free email account at www.collegeclub.com/highschool and start learning about the colleges you're considering.
NOVEMBER
  • Start looking into eligibility requirements for federal and private student loans. A good source of free, up-to-date information on low-cost student loans is Educaid. Helpful customer service representatives at Educaid can be reached weekdays at 1-800-578-1233.
DECEMBER
  • Your PSAT/NMSQT score report should arrive. Use the enclosed guide to interpret and understand your score.
  • Start planning to take the SAT I and/or SAT II exams, if necessary. You may also need to take the ACT. Check with the colleges you are applying to and find out specific testing requirements. Ask your high school counselor about registration deadlines.
JANUARY
  • Go through the catalogs of the 3-5 schools that interest you the most. If appropriate, apply for an interview and/or an overnight visit.
  • During your college visits, make sure you meet with an admissions representative and a financial aid officer to find out what types of aid are available.
  • Attend financial aid nights, if you have not already done so.
FEBRUARY
  • Start seriously investigating private scholarships and other student aid programs. Ask your teachers and counselor if any local organizations offer free use of a scholarship search program.
  • Go to www.fastweb.com to find out about scholarships.
  • Register and study for the SAT (I and II) and/or ACT exams.
MARCH
  • Continue investigating outside funding sources.
  • Register and study for the SAT and/or the ACT exams, if you have not already done so.
  • For more information about financial aid and answers to your questions, visit Educaid's website at www.educaid.com.
  • Log onto www.collegeclub.com/highschool and start meeting new friends at the colleges you are considering.
APRIL
  • Begin scheduling visits to each of the 3-5 schools that are on your final list.
  • Consider taking the Advance Placement (AP) exams while information is fresh in your mind.
  • Take an SAT prep course to help prepare for the upcoming test.
  • Begin preparing essays for college admissions and scholarship applications.