I'm soon finishing my sophomore year of high school and I'm going to be going into my junior year soon after I want to know early on before I start what I should do my junior year to prepare for my senior year of high school and after that college.
Make a list of colleges by using multiple platforms to research them. I love Niche.com but each site provides a slightly different view of colleges. You can visit in-state or nearby colleges if you have time. Try to have at least 6-8 and no more than 20-25, it'll be a lot of work. You can start the 650-word CommonApp essay whenever, look at the prompts online, but other essay prompts by college won't release until later.
It would also be good to sit down with your parents and talk finances if you don't already have a good idea of your budget. Some parents won't give you a dime, some will agree to cover a certain amount, set conditions like that you have to attend a state college, or cover as much as they can. My parents told me around that time that they will be able to cover up to $40-50k a year total for my college, and that we likely wouldn't get any aid from FAFSA because we're closer to the middle class than filthy rich upper class. So I knew I couldn't apply to a college with a tuition over $30k (factor in +$20k costs = $50k) without going into debt. This assumption turned out to be right, we didn't get any aid, and I had to choose between my in-state safety and another out-of-state school for $40k each.
I'm a junior rn, and I have some advice for you:
1. Start preparing for the PSAT and SAT, the sooner you start studying the more prepared you'll be, so you'll be able to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship and do well.
2. Take honor and AP/IB courses, and if your school offers them, dual-enrollment courses. I recommend taking at least one history AP, or AP equivalent (I found that AP Euro was the easiest) and one English AP (AP Lang is the junior level AP English). Maybe throw in an AP science, these are often classes that colleges will make you take your first semester, so if you do well on the exam, you'll be able to skip them and potentially graduate a semester early/be put in advanced classes.
3. Research scholarships now so you have plenty of time to apply and accumulate scholarship money.
4. Form good relationships with 2-3 of your teachers so you can go to them for letters of recommendation.
5. Make sure to join clubs or do community service, so colleges see you're involved with the community.
To keep this community safe and supportive: