Road Map: Junior Year

College Action Plan: 11th Grade

Junior year usually marks a turning point. This is because for most students and families, it’s when college planning activities kick into high gear. Here are some things you can do this year to give you the best options.


Make sure you meet with your school counselor. This meeting is especially important this year as you start to engage in the college application process. Learn more about the counselor's role in applying to college.

Set goals for yourself for the school year. Working toward specific goals helps to stay motivated and focused.

Stay organized. Make weekly or monthly to-do lists to keep on top of the tasks required to get ready for applying to colleges. For more time-management tips, see 8 Ways to Take Control of Your Time.

Get ready for the PSAT/NMSQT in October. This is a preliminary test that helps students practice for the SAT and assess their academic skills. Juniors who score well on the test are also eligible for scholarship opportunities. Find out more about the PSAT/NMSQT.


Review PSAT/NMSQT results. Your score report comes with a free SAT study plan. This online, customized plan is based on your test scores and can help you work on areas that need improvement. Learn more about this individualized SAT study plan.

Prepare for college admission tests. Many juniors take college admission tests, such as the SAT and the ACT, in the spring so they can get a head start on planning for college.

Discuss taking challenging courses next year. Taking college-level or honors courses as a senior can help you prepare for college work — and these are also the courses that college admission officers like to see.

Consider taking SAT Subject Tests. Many colleges require or recommend taking these tests to get a sense of your skills in a certain academic area. In general, it’s best to take a Subject Test right after taking the relevant course. Learn more about SAT Subject Tests.


Start your college search. Once you have an idea of the qualities you is looking for in a college, enter these criteria into College Search to create a list of colleges to consider applying to.

Begin to research scholarships. This form of financial aid provides money for college that doesn’t need to be repaid. Learn more through College Board’s Scholarship Search.

Attend college fairs and financial aid events. These events allow you to meet with college representatives and get answers to questions. You can ask the school counselor how to find events in your area. Check out the College Fair Checklist for more information.

Make summer plans. Summer is a great time to explore interests and learn new skills — and colleges look for students who pursue meaningful summer activities. Check some out here:  summer learning programs or find a job or internship.

Begin to visit colleges. Make plans to check out the campuses of colleges you is interested in. Use the Campus Visit Checklist to learn how to get the most out of these experiences.


  • Visit colleges. If you haven’t already, make plans to check out the campuses of colleges you are interested in. Use the Campus Visit Checklist to learn how to get the most out of these experiences.
  • Start to finalize a college list. Weighing how well each college meets your needs, for example. Find out more about how to finalize a college list.
  • Find out a college’s actual cost. Once you have a list of a few colleges he or she is interested in, use the Net Price Calculator together to find out the potential for financial aid and the true out-of-pocket cost — or net price — of each college.
  • Get started on applications. You can get the easy stuff out of the way now by filling in as much required information on college applications as possible. Read about how to get started on applications.
  • Think about applying early action or early decision. If you are  set on going to a certain college, think about whether applying early is a good option. Now is the time to decide because early applications are usually due in November. Read about the pros and cons of applying early.

Also be sure to check out the College Action Plan: 12th Grade link to see what else to expect next year!


All SC students in their third year of high school will take EITHER the ACT or the SAT during a school day second semester.  Which one should you choose?  How can you prepare?  See the links and information below to aid in your decision-making process.

ACT Booklet PDF: ACT Student BookletWhyTakeTheACT?

ACT Test Prep Tips: ACT Test Prep

Explanation of ACT Scores: Using Your ACT Results

SAT Booklet PDF: SAT Student Booklet

SAT Test Prep Tips: SAT Test Prep through Khan Academy

        ACT Academy (Practice): ACT Practice through ACT Academy

New SAT vs ACT Infographic v2

Prepare for College Application Essays

Check out these articles with tips on writing a great essay for your college applications!

College Search has many resources including a college search that can narrow down your choices based on location, majors, and more!  Click here to go directly to their college search.

The College Application Timeline

CUNY Fee Waivers

Since Fall 2016, CUNY application fees have been eliminated for all low-income NYC public high school seniors. The expansion increases the number of CUNY fee waivers more than fivefold – under the expansion, an estimated 37,500 high school seniors will qualify for fee waivers, up from approximately 6,500 waivers issued annually in previous years.

Students who are identified in the DOE system as eligible for free or reduced lunch will obtain a code allowing them to waiver the CUNY application fee.  If you have not submitted a lunch application for the 2021-22 school year please do so and follow up with your guidance counselor.  

Please see Mr. Argento whether or not you are eligible for a CUNY Fee Waiver.    

For all other Fee Waivers please make an appointment with Ms. Montgomery to identify if you qualify. 

Useful Resources

Many of the following books are available in the school library, public libraries and local bookstores:

  • Architecture Schools in North America. Peterson’s Guides.
  • Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges. Barron’s Educational Series.
  • The Best 366 Colleges. The Princeton Review.
  • Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way YouThink About Colleges. Loren Pope.
  • College Board: Guide to 150 College Majors. The College Board.
  • College Board: College Handbook. The College Board.
  • College Cost Book.  The College Board.
  • College Handbook, Index of Majors. The College Board.
  • Comparative Guide to American Colleges. Harper and Row.
  • The Fiske Guide to Colleges. Edward B. Fiske.
  • The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College. Viking Penguin.
  • Guide to College Majors. Chronicle Guidance Publications, Inc.
  • The Hidden Ivies: Thirty Colleges of Excellence. Harper Collins.
  • How to Get an Ivy League Education at a State University.  Avon Books.
  • Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That's Right for You.Loren Pope.
  • Peterson’s Competitive Colleges. Peterson’s Guides.
  • Peterson’s Guide to Colleges with Programs for Learning Disabled Students.Peterson’s Guides.
  • Peterson’s Guide to Four Year Colleges. Peterson’s Guides, Inc.
  • U.S. News & World Report Ultimate College Guide. U.S. News & World Report.
  • You Can Afford College: The Family Guide to Meeting College Costs.Doubleday Dell.

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