October, Junior Year of High School, college is still a ways off, right?

It's October of junior year in high school, plenty of time to think about college, right?  Well, yes, and there are some things to do starting now.  Hopefully, your student is taking the PSAT this month.  The PSAT taken in the junior year is what qualifies a student for National Merit Scholar.  Being a commended scholar, semifinalist or finalist can translate into merit money with college acceptance packages.  Most high schools offer this test and many times sophomore students can take the test for practice. 

What about college?  Any conversations yet about where?  Things to consider:  How big of a school do you see yourself in? public, private or religious based, or no preference?  How far away from home?  What do you think you might want to study? Most high schooler's will have no clue to that question yet and not to worry.  Really the main thing is to start a conversation!  But a great idea is to attend the national college fair that will be in Portland November 12 and 13 at the Convention Center.  Over 200 colleges from around the country will be there and it is a wonderful, easy place to start a college search.  The people who are representing the different colleges are actually the admissions officers and the ones who typically are reading applications.  They provide a wealth of information about each college.  Additionally, there are breakout sessions covering topics like college essays, scholarship information and application tips.  For more information, go to More info at  New this year is the ability to preregister which will save time filling out interest cards at the individual booths.

What about activities?  Being involved in school activities will become important on the college application, but the idea here is to be involved in things that really interest you not just padding the resume.  Take on a leadership role!

And of course, keep up the grades!  An upward trend is the goal here and so is the rigor of classes.  Think about taking those AP and IB tests next spring.  Depending on the college, you may receive college credit or it can tip the scale in your favor at a more selective school.

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