Junior Tips - Iowa College Access Network - ICAN

Junior Tips

August Tips

  • Learn about college fairs and information nights in your area. Visit ICANsucceed.org/calendar and ICANsucceed.org/collegefairs for dates and times. 
  • Talk to your parents and your school counselor about where you want to go to college. Make sure you're on the right track by taking the necessary courses during your junior year.
  • Keep your grades up. Colleges look at your overall GPA through all four years of high school.
  • Interested in attending one of Iowa's public universities? Learn about the Regent Admission Index requirements. For more information, contact the admission office at the respective university.
  • Review your college savings plan; start saving money now if you haven't already done so.
  • Learn about careers that interest you with an assessment at ACTprofile.org.
  • Prepare for college with the ICAN e-newsletter; sign up at ICANsucceed.org/impact

September Tips

  • Attend college fairs in your area and meet with college representatives who visit your high school. The Golden Circle College Fair is the largest college fair in Iowa, with approximately 150 colleges represented.
  • Check with your high school counselor to register for the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT®). These scores are used to determine National Merit Scholars.
  • Attend an ICAN College Planning Night at your high school. Ask your school counselor for the date and time.
  • Discuss with your parents and high school counselor what is important to you in a college (i.e., size, type, location, programs, facilities, cost, academic quality, etc.).
  • Begin gathering information about colleges that interest you and start a list of those you would like to visit.

October Tips

  • Let ICAN help you through the college planning and financial aid process without charge. We look forward to assisting you during your junior and senior years. Questions? Give us a call.Fall college fairs are nearing an end. Find remaining college fairs in your area by talking to your school counselor.
  • Colleges receive thousands of admission applications each year. Be sure to meet with your high school counselor to help yours stand out from the crowd!
  • Have you started to gather information on the colleges you may want to attend? Research Iowa colleges or do an online college search. Meet with college representatives if they visit your school.
  • Beware of scholarship search and financial aid service organizations that charge a fee for service. Much of the information you may be seeking is available at no cost. Check with your high school counselor or search at no cost.

November Tips

  • Plan to take the ACT® and/or SAT® exams, if you need them. Find out registration and test dates. Get ready for the exams by using online practice tests or study guides at your local library or bookstore.
  • Review websites and brochures from the colleges that you might want to attend.
  • Check the entrance requirements of the colleges that you're planning to apply to, and find out which test(s) you need to take.
  • Look into campus visits. Some colleges host special visit days for juniors.

December Tips

  • Begin to research scholarships. Learn about selection criteria and what's required to apply. Find a list of scholarship searches.
  • Register now if you're planning to take the January SAT or the February ACT.
  • Consider volunteering during your holiday break. Check out the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service for a list of options at www.volunteeriowa.org. Be sure to log your volunteer work in your activities portfolio.

January Tips

  • Happy New Year! Start it off right by scheduling campus visits to the top three to five colleges on your list.
  • Get involved. Colleges seek well-rounded students who not only get good grades, but who are also involved in school activities or community organizations.
  • Organize scholarship information according to deadline. Keep your planner or organizer updated with application deadlines so you won't miss any.
  • Prepare to take the ACT® or SAT® tests. Take practice tests online or visit your guidance office, local library or bookstore for good study guides.
  • Although financial aid is available from different sources, you and your parents are expected to pay part of the cost of your education. Have you been saving for this important investment?
  • Need help? All ICAN services are offered at no cost to you. Make an appointment to visit an ICAN location.

February Tips

  • Soon you'll be completing college and scholarship applications. Put together a resume listing your activities, awards, school achievements, employment and volunteer experience.
  • Investigate careers.
  • Make sure your senior year includes the credits needed to meet college entrance requirements. Talk to your school counselor about AP® (Advanced Placement) courses and CLEP® (College Level Examination Program) tests. Consider taking honors or college-level classes while you're still in high school.
  • If you're planning to take the April ACT® test, register now.

March Tips

  • Schedule college visits. Call ahead to arrange campus tours.
  • Attend college fairs in your area. Ask your school counselor for information on upcoming college fairs.
  • View a list (PDF) of suggested questions to ask during your campus visit.
  • During college visits, meet with an admissions representative and a financial aid officer to find out what types of aid are available.

April Tips

  • Take notes and compare your thoughts on each college after your visit. For help with this, use the College Checklist chart. (PDF)
  • If applicable, try to take AP® (Advanced Placement) exams while information is fresh in your mind. Check with your counselor for more information.
  • Register now for the June ACT and/or SAT.
  • Don't forget to update your summer reading list.
  • Have questions? All of ICAN's services are offered at no cost to you!
  • Visit Raise.Me and update your profile to earn scholarship dollars for your college planning activities and daily classes. 

May Tips

  • Narrow down your college choices to five schools or fewer and highlight the important features at each. Make a second visit if necessary. 
  • Line up a summer job in line with your career interests or volunteer in your community. Save some of your summer earnings for college expenses.
  • If you plan to take AP® (Advanced Placement) exams, check with your school counselor now for more information.
  • Consider taking a summer course at a local college.
  • Polish your resume. If required, assemble writing samples, a portfolio, or audition DVD.

June Tips

  • Begin applying for scholarships. Find Iowa scholarship opportunities and links to searches, as well as tips for essay writing, on the ICAN website.
  • Beware of credit card offers. It's easy to quickly get in over your head. Talk to your parents about offers and if any of the cards are right for you.
  • If you haven't visited all of the colleges on your list, schedule a college visit.
  • Use the Internet to get information on your preferred colleges.
  • Finalize your college choices. Look especially at the features that are most important to you.

July Tips

  • Get ready for your senior year! Start thinking about how to manage your time. Remember that you should focus on keeping your grades up, filling out applications and selecting a college despite the distractions.
  • Polish your resume, and if needed, get together writing samples, portfolios or audition tapes.
  • Plan to attend Iowa Private College Week in the fall. If you visit three or more participating colleges during the week, the colleges will waive admission application fees. To find out more, ask a school counselor or go to www.thinkindependently.com. Information is also posted on participating colleges' websites.
  • Think about which teachers, employers or other adults you'll ask to write letters of recommendation. Ask for letters at least two weeks before you need them. Plan to ask at the very beginning of the school year.


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