HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS 11th Grade Students
What are you looking for in a college?
You want to find the college that best fits you, a place where you can thrive in all aspects of your life. Ask yourself some questions: What environment helps me be myself? In what areas do I want to be challenged to grow? Which parts of college life matter to me: academics, social life, spiritual life, location, etc.?
Taking Standardized Tests
How do colleges use standardized test scores? In fact, these scores play only a small role in determining admission as they provide limited information about you and your potential for success. The work you put into your classes for three to four years matters much more. The character you’re developing that helps you tackle the unique pressures and challenges of college also counts. So relax, give exams your all, but put them in the proper perspective.
Finding a college that fits you well.
Sometimes we need the help of someone close to us to understand who we truly are. When searching for your college home, ask for input from people who know you well: your parents, mentors, grandparents, and friends. What do they think would suit you best?
You have to see it for yourself.
Visiting gives you the best insight into a college’s culture and atmosphere and whether it fits you. Be indiscriminate about the colleges you visit early in your search to help you see the diversity out there. You can also hone in on the aspects of a college that appeal to you most.
Explore your financial aid options.
Need help paying for college? Here’s a helpful tip: third-party scholarships can be an untapped resource. Go to fastweb.com and create a profile. Review some of the applications that surface. Type in your answers and save them. If you’re prepared, you can fill out a lot of applications quickly and easily in your senior year. Every year a few students bring a lot of outside scholarships to Westmont. You can do that too!
Think about registering for college entrance exams.
Get ready to take standardized tests. Does that sound intimidating? It doesn’t have to, especially this year. Taking an exam as a junior lowers the pressure. You can experience the test without worrying about your score. You’ll learn a lot between now and the fall of your senior year, when you’ll take the test again. You’ll be ready to nail it!
Start planning some college visits!
Road trip! The summer after your junior year is a great time to visit several colleges. Plan to tour all the schools you think you may apply to. Bring along a journal or open a new set of notes on your phone. With each visit, write down your impressions: what you liked, what you didn’t, how you felt on campus, and more. You've heard this before, but visiting colleges is so important to your decision. Keep your notes handy and review them when you make a decision in your senior year.
You're almost there!
Congratulations on being so close to finishing your junior year! When the semester ends, take advantage of summer programs like Westmont's Trailhead at colleges you’re considering or sign up for an internship to help you explore what you’d like to study. You can also use this time to strengthen your testing skills or practice and prepare for writing your college essays!