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11th Grade

For many students, junior year is the most stressful and important. It’s when you’ll take the SAT or ACT college admissions tests, visit campuses, and narrow your choices. Here are some steps to help you stay on track:

All Year

  • Do your best every day in your classes and try to get good grades.
  • Volunteer in your community, play sports, or join clubs. Getting involved will help you explore your interests and get you started on meeting the community service graduation requirement. Plus, many scholarships require students to demonstrate a history of community service. (DCPS students)
  • Keep a list of at least one teacher or another adult whom you would ask for a recommendation letter. (DCPS students)
  • Save an example of good work that you did in class this year. (DCPS students)
  • Try to save some money for college. If you can, attend programs about how to pay for college (your school counselor or college access provider can hook you up).
  • Keep a list of your extracurricular activities as well as any awards or recognition you receive — you will need this information for college applications and for many financial aid opportunities.



  • Review and, if necessary, revise your course plan for senior year. Take advanced classes such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or dual credit, if possible. Grades matter, but colleges also often look at your class schedule and want to see it full of challenging courses. (DCPS students)
  • Update your resume so you can apply for jobs. (DCPS students | other students)
  • If you hope to play sports in college, ask your coach for help in meeting with college coaches. Register for initial eligibility with the NCAA.


  • Apply for scholarships. Some are open to juniors.
  • Talk to your school counselor or college access provider about summer programs — it’s a good chance to explore your interests and possibly even spend some time on a college campus.
  • Consider applying for a part-time job. You can gain valuable work experience and save money for college.
  • Identify your strengths and how you can use those in the workplace. Think about what you value in a career, such as having the opportunity for advancement. (DCPS students | other students)


  • Visit colleges if you can and talk to the admissions office about what you can do senior year to increase your chances of getting in and receiving financial aid. Talk to your college access provider to help you arrange visits and tours. (DCPS students | other students)
  • Do your best at work so you can ask for a recommendation from your supervisor.
  • Try job shadowing at a career you might be interested in. See your school counselor or college access provider for help setting this up.

( 3 Votes )



Ruth graduated from Bell Multicultural and is going to Catholic University ... view video (1:54)


It's better to get good grades than to take challenging classes.