May College Readiness Tips For High School Juniors

A quick summary…Pick a great senior year schedule.  Do well on May and June tests.  Plan a busy, interactive summer. May 3rd is deadline for June 8 ACT. May 7 is deadline for June 1 SAT and SAT Subject Tests. Meet with your counselor to develop/refine your college list. Visit and research colleges.

1.     Academics

  1. Senior year—Pick a rigorous 12th grade schedule.
  • Choose senior year courses that push you further. AP and honors classes
  • If you stop a foreign language or math, remember, colleges have placement tests and they are harder if you don’t take a class senior year.
  • If you do stop a content area, you should take an elective in its place.
  • Colleges are very worried about kids who take light senior years.
  • Remember you must keep grades high all year most colleges ask for 1st semester grades and often take back admissions if second semester grades go down.

If you can’t find summer classes at your school or district, consider

  • Adult Schools
  • Online courses
  • Regular four-year university classes-many have regular summer sessions.
  • Extension courses that provide regular transfer/college credits.
  • Community colleges, if you’re lucky try to find one that is taking high school kids.

2.     Test Readiness and Taking

Remember, you can take each test—SAT, SAT Subject Test, and Act—twice for free if you get fee waivers. You can’t take the SAT and Subject Tests on the same date. Remember, you get to send out your own scores.


SAT Subject Tests

  • May 7 is the registration date for the June 1 SAT Subject Tests
  • Remember, the UCs no longer require them but why not?
  • Take up to three of the one hour tests.
  • Take US History, Math 2, and Literature. There are several other choices.


3.     Summer Plans

  • You need to be busy this summer. Colleges do not understand high school juniors who do not use their summers productively.
  • Plan to do something at least 30 to 40 hours a week.
  • Get a job. Any job counts. Use connections.
  • Volunteer. Any volunteer position counts. Ideally, find one that pushes your interests further.
  • Intern. Again use connections.  Follow your passions.
  • Take Classes.
  • Making Up. Take summer classes to make up any missed or failed classes. Districts have very few classes. So sign up now.
  • Moving forward. Take classes at a community college or local colleges

4.     Meet with Your Counselor

  • Go over your current list of colleges
  • Get some more colleges to research
  • Develop a strategy for picking teachers to write recommendations.
  • If any teacher is leaving, get his or her email address for recommendations

5.     Research and Visit College Visits

  • Sign up for Unigo. This free site sends out weekly tips and college profiles that are hip, interesting, and helpful.
  • Sign up for Princeton Review’s college major finder. It sends you lists of colleges that match your major interests.
  • Buy The College Finder by Steven Antonoff. It lists colleges by a million interests topics and themes.
  • If you’re a first generation college goer, become an I’m First member and get free resources and links to colleges that want you.
  • Go to College GreenLight and get free online help with finding colleges that want you and manage your application process for free.
  • If your school uses Naviance, make sure you have an active account and start using the many resources, including the resume builder and college research functions.




About rjoseph

I am the creator and visionary behind this site. I want to do everything I can to help students consider college as an option, even when they may be the first in their family to go or may not have the funds at hand. Don't let anyone tell you that you don't have the right or the ability to go to college.

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