Tips for Juniors to Plan Ahead for College

Although the primary focus of EA Test Prep is preparing students for the SAT and the ACT as well as helping students to write the college application essays, we want to share how a variety of factors can impact these exams and the entire college application process.

The junior year is filled with academic, extra-curricular, and social demands, which often exceed what a student has experienced. Combine these pressures with thoughts about college, and it becomes apparent why many students have difficulty effectively including test preparation as part of their schedule. However without paying ample attention to at least one of these tests, applying to the ideal college might result in disappointment that could be avoided by a greater awareness of the college application process and/or developing the academic skills required for a more seamless transition into college. Of course, the quintessential problem becomes how to incorporate more tasks into an already full schedule.

First, it is important to recognize that even thinking about going to college can be fraught with stress. For a student, it is a combination of wanting to go to the "perfect" college but not wanting to leave everyone and everything that is familiar. Combine this with the reality of the amount of effort required to prepare for the SAT and/or ACT, determining the colleges that are "reach, target, and safety" schools, as well as the written work to complete applications can produce a high level of tension. A student's motivation, self-confidence, and skills will influence the response to this situation. For a parent, the concern about how much college will cost and the value of that expense becomes a concern. Additionally, parents want to help their child minimize the stress while still achieving all the college application requirements in a timely manner.

With all these pressures, EA Test Prep would like to offer some suggestions to ameliorate the tensions that can develop. If your child is a junior in high school, take out a calendar and count the months until September 2019 with your child present. This visual will provide a timeframe for students to understand that they need to be ready to submit in less than a year. By identifying what needs to be done to apply to college, a high school junior can begin to understand that applying to college has many parts than can be achieved individually. If your child resists because of a lack of certainty about the process, simply explain that you are writing in pencil so that anything can be changed. Write the following information on your calendar:

· Every date that the SAT and ACT can be taken and circle the preferred test date

· Dates to visit colleges (Although students may not have chosen a college, planning dates to visit schools makes the process seem real

· Dates to meet with the high school college counselor regarding "reach, target, and safety" schools recommendations

· Dates to meet with a tutor to prepare for the SAT and/or ACT

Once this is accomplished, place the calendar in a prominent place so that your child can review it. Encourage your child to write additional college related activities. For example, when your high school hosts a College Night. Each time students write on the calendar, they are focusing on their goal of attending the college of their choice.

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