Juniors, let’s talk about college

Sofi Zeman, Features Editor

     Juniors, it’s almost time. The second semester has begun and with it comes standardized tests and finals that have the potential to play an important role in the academic futures of most students. For most, the college application process will begin next fall.This can be a stressful time for most juniors with the idea of preparing a solid transcript for college applications. But, take a step back. There’s still time to get ready for for the application process and multiple steps to get better accustomed the idea of college.

     “Applying to Rock Valley was stressful. I am still in the process of having my FASFA go through and getting to know and meet all of the academic advisors was very confusing,” said Danae Steele (‘18).

     It can be beneficial to bring any questions to a school counselor. Most will be able to inform students on whether they’re on track to graduate, how to set up a suitable resume and help set up SAT and ACT prep courses.

     While grades are important, they’re not all that schools look at. Now is the time to fill resumes with extracurriculars as well. Being involved in sports, clubs, community service organizations and leadership roles gives admissions a little more detail on an applicant’s academic and social background. Those hoping to attend highly competitive schools typically attend conferences, go on mission trips and serve internships as well.

     If they’re available, it can be helpful to attend college fairs in order to get various options and information on the type of school a student is interested in. Earlier this fall, schools from across the country visited Belvidere North to inform students and help broaden the possibilities of their academic careers. While this program is currently unavailable to participate in, students will be able to sign up and meet with college representatives again in the spring of this school year.

     Going on college visits gives students the opportunity to see what their lives could be like. Many schools allow visits during the spring and throughout summer. Students can take tours, get a feel for campus life and in some cases, observe classes. While some schools look good on paper, going to see it in person has the capability to change plans.

     While many applications require a fee, some find it helpful to do a free application from a smaller school first. Doing this can give a student a general idea of what to see on an application for a school they’re seriously considering and an opportunity to practice.

     For most schools, applications don’t go out until August. While there is still time to prepare for college, starting the planning early can help to make the entire process less stressful in the months to come.