Your Junior Year of High School

Sign up to receive the monthly newsletter specifically for juniors.

If you would like to receive the monthly newsletter email, please complete the form provided. In the meantime, the checklist below can help you stay on track during your junior year.


  • Map out your junior year. Buy a calendar and note all known events and activities for the year. Pencil in ACT test dates, test prep opportunities, campus visits, and college fairs. 
  • Collect helpful information. Sign up for the monthly newsletter above to stay on top of everything you should be doing junior year with helpful articles and important dates sent directly to your inbox. You should also download the Junior Year eBook to read helpful tips for the upcoming year. 
  • Focus on your favorites. Continue to work hard and grow in the extracurricular activities that interest you most. Remember, colleges prefer candidates with leadership experience over multiple memberships. 
  • Talk with your college and career mentors. Talk to your parents about your career goals, ask your teachers about their college and career experience, and meet with your counselor to learn more about the helpful resources they have to offer. 
  • Identify your interests. Take free quizzes to pinpoint your unique skills and better understand how your strengths align with your plans after graduation. 
  • Give yourself an edge. Consider taking the ACT in September and/or October. Take the test in the fall and use your score report to confirm your strengths and uncover areas for improvement. Knowing where you stand can help you better prepare for the next time you take the test. Order ACT test prep materials to practice your skills.


  • Attend virtual college fairs. Be prepared when talking to college representatives. 
  • Identify important factors in choosing a college. Two-year or four-year? Location? Cost? Atmosphere? Variety of study programs available? Entrance fee requirement? Create a college list to compare the colleges you’re interested in attending. 
  • Register for the right classes. Meet with your counselor to help schedule your core classes. Review your coursework and plan for the rest of high school. Take a close look at college prerequisites (particularly around foreign language and science) and make sure your schedule includes the classes you need for college. 
  • Take advantage of the TIR. Consider taking the ACT in December. If you take the December ACT, you can order a Test Information Release (TIR) and review all the questions and your answers (this opportunity is only available in December, April, and June). You can learn from your mistakes and improve your score the next time you take the ACT. Since it’ll be top of mind, you may want retake the ACT in February.


  • Go on virtual college visits. Many colleges and universities have a photo or video tour of campus on their website. These can help you get a better feel for the classrooms, dorms, dining halls, and hot spots on campus. View the campus using online maps. Read student profiles. The Internet has made it easier to get a glimpse into college life from your computer. 
  • Identify your support network. Getting help from the right people can help you better navigate the college admissions process. Talk to your family members, school counselor, and mentors about your future goals. This is also a great time to start asking for references and letters of recommendation
  • Consider taking the ACT in February or April. If you haven’t taken the ACT yet, this is the time to do it. At this point in your high school experience, you should have completed all the coursework covered on the test. Many colleges send information about admission, advanced placement, scholarship opportunities, and special programs to prospective students during this time. (Remember, ACT offers a fee waiver program for students who are having trouble paying for the ACT test. Learn how to apply!)
  • Get your name in the game. By opting-in to the ACT Educational Opportunity Service (EOS), you can get discovered by more colleges. EOS is a free service that can broaden your college search and improve financial aid opportunities. Learn more about EOS.
  • Get certified. Whether you’re thinking about continuing your education after high school or launching a career, consider taking the ACT WorkKeys® Assessment and earning your National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC).


  • Retest in June or July. 57% of students who take the test more than once increase their score. This may be a great time for you to spend a few weeks doing test prep before taking the ACT again. Should you test again? View the infographic. Read more about reasons to retest.
  • Start the application process. Don’t wait until the last minute! Begin brainstorming essay ideas, contact potential references, and identify people you want to ask for a written recommendation. Use the Ultimate Guide to Applying for College eBook as a guide. 
  • Research admissions deadlines. Your senior year is going to go fast. It’s important you understand how college admissions deadlines work before you miss an opportunity.