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Education Timeline Parent Guide

Preparing for Junior Year of High School 

Junior year of high school is a busy time and it can also be stressful. During 11th grade, students will take some of their most challenging classes. In addition, students will prepare for the SAT and ACT exams. Above all, juniors should meet with counselors to ensure they are on track for graduation.

Junior year is a time to think about the future. For example, students can attend college and career fairs. They can also visit potential schools. Student athletes and academic achievers might seek college recruiters.

Students begin work on résumés, discuss college finances with parents, and research potential scholarships. 

Some students will find their first after-school or weekend job. Some might take on leadership roles in extracurricular activities. In conclusion, students should have a good idea of college choices and thoughts on a career by the end of junior year. 

Junior Year Planning Calendar

June to August

  • College visits


  • Check graduation requirements and meet with high school guidance counselor
  • Review with counselor post-high school plans and college preparation
  • Take the PSAT Prep and test
  • Create a calendar for SAT/ ACT/ AP test dates
  • Stay involved in extracurricular activities


  • Develop a preliminary list of colleges to apply
  • Register for AP exams


  • Research colleges
  • Attend college fairs
  • Request information from colleges of interest


  • Research financial aid and scholarships


  • Register for the spring SAT/ACT


  • Meet with a counselor to plan senior classes


  • Prep for SAT/ACT


  • Take SAT/ACT
  • Take AP tests
  • Prepare for a summer job or internship
  • Chart college application deadlines on your calendar
  • Brainstorm college application essay topics

Top Reasons to Prep for SAT/ACT Exams 

To start, several exam prep tools and resources exist to help students prepare for the SAT/ACT exams. Students can find them online and in print.  Most importantly, test prep makes taking exams much less stressful.  For example, the sooner students begin test prep, the more confidence they will have on test day. 

Reasons for preparing early for the SAT/ACT exams:

1. Test scores can determine admissions. A good test score can help increase the chance of admission, even if the application isn’t perfect.

2. Test scores show academic knowledge. Entrance exams reveal to admissions officers what a student has learned and retained. Test prep helps memory recall of crucial academic knowledge.

3. Test readiness shows readiness for college. Test prep and practice help sharpen reading, writing, and math skills.  These skills are needed to be successful in college. In addition, these skills prepare for college-level learning.

4. Application timelines depend on test readiness. Scores can take a while to reach college admissions. Students should take tests in plenty of time. This will ensure a test arrives before college acceptance deadlines.  Preparing and studying early prevents cramming for exams in order to meet due dates.

5. Test scores reveal which schools are the best fit. Scores will show which colleges are within a student’s reach. As a result, students won’t waste time, effort,  and application fees. 

Scholarships for High School Juniors

High school juniors are eligible for scholarships available to all high school students. In the same vein, scholarships specifically offered to juniors are also available. Therefore, junior year is a time to start the scholarship search. 

For example, students interested in athletics can receive sports scholarships, which are available for all sports. Military families can look into scholarships for military connected students. Career and Technical students can opt to apply for CTE scholarships like the United States Presidential Scholars Program.  Similarly,  students interested in taking online courses after high school have options.  Some online colleges offer scholarships as well.

In conclusion, a student’s best resource for scholarship research is the high school counselor. They can offer assistance to find scholarship opportunities unique to a student’s circumstances and interests.

Sources and Additional Information

Go Public’s Education Timeline is the ultimate parent guide for navigating Pre-K through graduation. The purpose is to help parents know what to expect at each grade level and provide guidance on all that is offered in a public education. A huge benefit of public schools are the resources that support a student. The Education Timeline serves as a compass for navigating those resources. Each phase will also have helpful information, guides, and checklists.

The Timeline was researched and compiled from multiple sources cited throughout each phase. Refer to the timeline graphic below for the featured grade level. Click on each icon to learn more about what to expect and how to prepare.

Go Public content producer and parent of two public school students, Trina Pruitt, developed the Education Timeline to help herself and other parents learn what to expect at each phase of a child’s journey in school.