According to The Washington Post, there are 5,300 colleges in the United States alone and we are supposed to choose one. Facing such a big decision, students wonder when they should start planning for college?
Thinking about college may seem like an intimidating task, so starting early is key. The summer before junior year is the perfect time to start planning. Not only is it the best time to start thinking about and studying for the SAT or ACT, but it is a great time to start planning for the future.
Freshman and sophomore year should be focused on studying and extracurriculars. “There is no reason for ninth and 10th graders to take practice exams. Ninth graders should be worried about the transition to high school and no the transition to college,” English and college test prep teacher Jessica Speck said.
The summer before junior year allows enough time for college tours as well as studying for the standardized tests. During the summer before junior year there is a “one week summer class offered that helps students decide whether to take the ACT vs the SAT. Find out which one is better suited to your learning style and take that. There is absolutely positively no reason to take both tests,” Speck said.
Senior year is going to be packed with college applications and writing essays on top of normal school work and extracurricular activities. “Once you start junior year you won’t have time to plan ahead with everything going on. All the hard classes you will be taking as well as preparing for the standardized tests will take up tons of time,” sophomore Stephanie Povich said. Visiting colleges before senior year is important as well. You want to have an idea of what the college is like before you apply or commit to a school. Juniors are allowed just three days in the second semester to go on college tours. This may not be enough time for students to decide on a school that is well suited them.
“You have to take advantage of the summer months because you have a few free months to plan and think about where you want to go and what you want to study,” Povich said.
Visiting schools before the start of junior year gives students an idea of what classes to take, as well as what scores to get on the standardized tests while leaving time for last minute college visits.
“It is the best time because you haven’t gotten to the stress of junior year yet. You will be more prepared and have less to do when it comes to deciding where you want to go to college, what you want to study, and where you are actually applying,” sophomore Lilah Kauff said.
When it comes time for counselor visits in December and January of junior year, students will already have an idea of their college plan and be prepared to take the next steps in the college process.