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Grade 11 Parents and Families

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

All Year

  • Have high expectations. Make it clear that good grades and good attendance are important. Let teachers and counselors know that you expect your child to go to college and ask for their advice and support.
  • Check that your child is doing his or her homework, and provide a quiet place for your child to study.
  • Encourage your child to participate in additional academic programs before and after school and in the summer. If your child is struggling, these programs can help him or her catch up. If not, they can give your child a headstart on preparing for college.
  • Help your child explore colleges and collect information about schools he or she is interested in. Check colleges' Web sites to find out what they expect from their applicants: high school courses, grade point averages, SAT/ACT scores, extracurriculars, etc. Make sure that your child is on track to meet these expectations. You and your child also can investigate summer programs offered at DC colleges to learn more about college.
  • Encourage your child to research careers related to his or her interests. Help him or her find out what colleges specialize in those fields and what it takes to get into those colleges.
  • Encourage your child to volunteer in community service activities or participate in job shadowing opportunities to explore his or her interests and learn more about different kinds of workplaces. Plus, many scholarships require students to demonstrate a history of community service.
  • Encourage your child to participate in extracurricular activities, including clubs focused on careers, such as teaching or business. This will give your child a chance to explore interests and improve his or her chances of being eligible for a scholarship.
  • Ask the school counselor about programs, such as TRIO Upward Bound, that provide underserved children with support and skills to prepare for college. Find out where these programs are offered in DC and how to enroll your child.
  • Contribute to a DC College 529 Savings Plan. The earlier you start, the more your savings will grow! (See additional tips to help pay for college.)
  • Get involved in school by volunteering, participating in parent-teacher organizations, and attending school events. Your involvement will have a big impact on your child's education.


  • Talk to school counselors and teachers to make sure your child's skills are on track to graduate high school and be ready for college. If he or she is behind, talk with the school counselor, teachers, or college access provider to make sure your child gets the help he or she needs. Ask your school counselor about the High School/College Internship Program (HI/SCIP) that lets students take college courses while enrolled in high school.
  • Attend college nights or college fairs, such as the Greater Washington National College Fair on Oct. 12, 2010. Your child's school and other DC organizations may invite college representatives to visit other times as well. Talk to your child's counselor or college access provider to find out more.
  • Make sure your child takes the PSAT/NMSQT or PLAN test. These preliminary tests help them prepare for the SAT or ACT — standardized admissions test most colleges require.
  • Make sure your child also registers and prepares for the SAT or ACT. Your child can take the tests multiple times to improve his or her score.


  • Make sure your child enrolls in the courses he or she needs to graduate high school and be ready for college. Talk to your child and his or her school counselor about the courses your child will take in grade 12. Remind your child that most colleges require students to have more than the minimum number of courses required to graduate from a DC high school, so taking challenging classes is important. Junior and senior years are no time to slack off.
  • If your child hopes to play sports in college, ask his or her coach for help in meeting with college coaches. Make sure your child registers for initial eligibility with the NCAA.


  • Help your child research scholarship options. Some scholarships are open to juniors, and it's never too early to start planning how to pay for college.
  • Talk with your child's school counselor about which colleges are good fits for your child based on his or her grades and test results. Consider options including two- and four-year colleges, work-study, and apprenticeship programs.


  • Visit colleges with your child. Even if you can't travel to distant campuses, there are lots of great colleges to visit in DC and nearby. You can drop by for an informal visit any time, or your child's college access provider can help you arrange visits and tours.
  • Encourage your child to take a part-time job. He or she can explore career interests and save some money for college.

( 3 Votes )



Rosalind's daughter, a Hyde Leadership grad, is going to Jarvis Christian College ... view video (1:42)


There are some scholarships your child can apply for in 11th grade.