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5 things juniors can do now to make applying to college less stressful

It may seem early, but college application season will be here before you know it. The stories you may have heard about it being a terribly stressful time don’t have to be your story. Here are 5 things you can do to avoid a lot of unnecessary stress.

  1. Work hard in your current classes. Your grades in your classes this year count – a lot. Junior year is a good opportunity to show colleges you have what it takes to succeed in college. So, do your best and get help if you need it. The better you do, the more options you’ll have.
  2. Make sure your senior class schedule is rigorous. It’s a myth that senior year is your time to take it easy. Admissions folks look at how challenging your classes are because students who take rigorous classes tend to do better in college. Keep this in mind as you consider your classes for next year and choose the most challenging classes you can reasonably do well in.
  3. Take an ACT and/or SAT this spring. Taking your first test in the Spring gives you the chance to experience what it’s like and find out which area(s) you may need to work on. That way you can use the summer to do focused test prep by taking a class, working with a tutor, practicing with a test prep book from your library or using the many free test prep resources online.
  4. Get out of the house. Start looking for something to do this summer that will give you a chance to do something new or something that will allow you to develop new skills and have fun at the same time. You could get a job, volunteer in your community, take a class just for fun, help start a new project at your church, or take on a leadership role in an organization you belong to. The possibilities are pretty endless.
  5. Plan to complete at least one college essay during the summer. It’s way easier to write an essay when you don’t have the burden of schoolwork as well. Most colleges that require essays have the prompts somewhere on their website. (Make sure it’s for the 2014-15 application, though.) If you’re not sure or can’t find it, just ask the college.
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