Only two more years and you will be headed to college! Here is a list of priorities for this summer to help you prepare for the journey:
Grades and classes!
Gear up for your junior year and make your grades the best ever! Remember that when you apply to college, universities look at your freshmen through junior grades, and look at the rigor (and eventually grades) of your senior year.
Make sure you have chosen the appropriate classes for your junior year, classes in which you will be adequately challenged but will be able to obtain As or Bs.
If your academic history is strong and you have yet to take an AP class, junior year is a good time to start. Know that your goal is to obtain an A or a B in every AP class you take.
Selective and highly selective universities don't like C's in AP classes. AP classes have a similar rigor to college level classes, and colleges believe that if you cannot do well in an AP class, you may not succeed in college.
If you are aiming for those highly selective or Ivy League universities, the competition is tough and your GPA must be in the top 5% of your class.
If you are aiming for the best universities in Florida, know that UF requires over a 4.3 core GPA. Admission to FSU and UCF is getting more and more difficult, you should at least be in the top 10% to have the best shot at admission.
Take a look at the Florida Universities Freshman Profiles to know more and see what you need to achieve next year. Remember - you can still get that GPA up significantly!
College Entrance Exams!
You will be taking the ACT and SAT during your junior year. Yes, indeed - you need to take both in order to determine which test is best for you! Your objective is to determine which test you prefer, and to continue testing until you reach the score range necessary for acceptance into the college(s) of your choice and for scholarships such as Bright Futures (for Floridians). Ideally, you should be done with testing by the end of your junior year.
Know that you must sign up at least one month in advance for the ACT and SAT, so check out the test schedule on my website and plan when you will be taking the tests.
Prep for the tests: Do not take the ACT or SAT without studying!! If you take it without prepping you are wasting your time (an early Saturday morning at that) and your money. Prepping will make a great difference in your scores.
One of your summer jobs is prepping for these tests – set the objective of at least 30 minutes per day!! I guarantee it will make a difference.
There are several ways to prep:
individual prep with a private tutor
group prep with a company or organization
paying for online prep
free online prep with Khan Academy which offers 7 free practice tests, online tips and study questions
online ACT $39 prep class; free for those on free/reduced lunch. In the fall ACT will have its own free prep available.
ACT or SAT books. These books include practice tests, tips, study questions. In addition, ACT and SAT have topic/subject books which can help you improve your score in your weak area. ACT and SAT books are available online or you can borrow them from your school’s Media Center.
Junior year is when you should be taking a closer look at colleges and universities, and whittling down that list. If you have the opportunity, start/continue to visit the universities you are interested in this summer or during the school year to determine which are a good fit for you! If you are unable to travel, start researching universities online, and take virtual tours.
Consider the financial component of each university by seeing what your family would pay with the net price calculator.
Be productive this summer!
Gain work and/or volunteer experience in a field that interests you.
Participate in an academic program at an in-state or out-of-state university.
Take part in a local academic summer camp or become a camp counselor.
Take a class at your local community college or online.
Start your own small business.
Set up an appointment with us this summer to make sure you are on track for the college application process.