11th Grade Action Plan
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 support your child and give him or her the best options.
- Get the facts about what college costs. You may be surprised by how affordable higher education can be. Start by reading Understanding College Costs.
- Explore financial aid options. These include grants and scholarships, loans, and work-study programs that can help pay for college costs. Find out more about how financial aid can make college affordable.
- Make sure your child meets with Dr. Rios, college counselor. If you can schedule this after November 1st and before Holiday break that would be ideal. This meeting is especially important this year as your 11th-grader starts to engage in the college application process.
- Help your child stay organized. Work with your 11th-grader to 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.
- Help your junior 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.
- Encourage your child to set goals for the school year. Working toward specific goals helps your high school student stay motivated and focused.
- Review PSAT/NMSQT results together by logging in to the student score reporting portal. Your child’s score report shows what they should work on to get ready for college; lists Advanced Placement courses that might be a good match for them; and connects them to free, personalized SAT practice on Khan Academy based on their results.
- Help your child prepare for the SAT. Many juniors take the SAT in the spring so they can get a head start on planning for college. See which other tests your high school junior may need to take.
- Discuss taking challenging courses next year. Taking honors courses or college-level courses like Advanced Placement as a senior can help your child prepare for college work — and these are also the courses that college admission officers like to see. Learn more about advanced classes.
- Encourage your junior to consider taking SAT Subject Tests. Many colleges require or recommend taking these tests to get a sense of your child’s 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.
- Encourage your child to take AP Exams. If your 11th-grader takes AP or other advanced classes, have him or her talk with teachers now about taking these tests in May. Read more about the AP Program.
- If you haven't met with Dr. Rios yet, now is the time! Make sure you meet between January and February. There is much to cover before going on summer break.
- This is the time the student will be working on their essay in the English classes. Every year there are prompts given by the Common App. Here are the 2021-22 prompts. The final review will be done by Dr. Rios and they will work on the essay until they both feel it is the best work to upload to the Common App site.
- This is also the time to ask for recommendation letters from at least two core teachers (English, Science, Math, etc). The first approach is in person (or via email if student is at home), once the teacher agrees, the student should formally request the teacher via the Naviance system.
- If you have not done so yet, make your testing plan. Sagemont usually provides online practice tests through our testing partner. Results of the test are sent immediately following the exam. The dates are listed in the College Counseling Office Calendar. Make plans to take both the ACT and the SAT practice tests so that you can decide on a preference and then make plans to take the real test of your choice. A junior should have two tests under their belt before returning for senior year. If needed, there will be one more time to take a test before Nov 1st deadlines.
- Some things that don't have to wait until senior year to get started are: opening the Common Application Account, filling out the Raise.Me information for microscholarships to participating schools, and start putting a list together of schools you are thinking about on Naviance.
- By this time, you should have already done your assessments in Naviance. You should have your log in information and the assessments are found under the About Me Tab and then Assessments. Do all of them.
- Search together for colleges that meet your child’s needs. Once you have an idea of the qualities your child is looking for in a college, help him or her enter these criteria into College Search to create a list of colleges to consider applying to.
- Help your child 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. Your child can ask the school counselor how to find events in your area. Check out the College Fair Checklist for more information.
- Help your child 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. Help your high schooler look into summer learning programs or find a job or internship.
- Visit colleges together. Make plans to check out the campuses of colleges your child is interested in. Use the Campus Visit Checklist to learn how to get the most out of these experiences.