7 College Search Tips for High School Juniors

Faculty helping student in Class in computer lab

Congratulations — you’ve made it to the spring of your junior year! You’re one step closer to your final year of high school — and to finding the right college for you.

Here are 7 things you can do this spring to create strong options for your college education.

1. Build a list of colleges that fit your goals and ambitions.

Your college counselor — or college search engines like Peterson’s, Princeton Review, Cappex — are great resources for helping to build your list. Already have a list? Start narrowing that list so you can plan visits over spring or summer break. Which brings us to our next tip…

2. Plan a few college visits.

Now is the perfect time to begin visiting colleges you are interested in. Many colleges offer events and open houses geared specifically toward high school juniors. Meredith offers several opportunities especially for high school juniors, including a leadership conference and an open house, where you can meet with faculty, staff and students, and learn about academics and campus life. Check our visit page for more on these opportunities.

3. Take the time to know yourself and identify college experiences that can be a good match for you.

The college selection tools at or can help you hone in on good matches. Also, make plans to attend a college fair near you in the spring. Check out to see if a national college fair will be held in your area.

4. Research scholarship and financial aid options at different types of schools.

You and your family are likely to be concerned about paying for college. And, you may have already made some assumptions like “We can’t afford a private school” based on perceptions of cost. Did you know that students at private colleges get more financial aid? In fact, according to the Council for Independent Colleges, private colleges give more than three times the amount of institutional aid — $17,088 vs $5,046 — than public colleges do. Be careful not to let myths or misperceptions limit your search. Now is the ideal time to get the facts about the variety of scholarship and financial assistance options that may be available to you at different types of schools.

5. Have you signed up for the SAT or ACT?

Do so at or The spring of your junior year is a great time to take the SAT or ACT. And, to position yourself for the best scholarships, plan to take the test again in the fall of your senior year.

6. Think about classes you’ll take in your senior year.

For many colleges, the most important aspect of your application will be the rigor of your curriculum and the grades you have earned in those courses. Be careful not to overreach or underestimate your abilities. Your coursework AND your grades are important.

7. Plan your summer.

Look for summer programs that match your interests. An academic camp, a community camp, or volunteer experience — meaningful experiences like these are a great addition to any college application. Summer programs on college campuses are also a great way to get a taste of what college life is like. One option: Meredith’s 4-day, residential Looking Toward College program, which helps rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors prepare for success in college.

And, most of all, enjoy this special time in your high school career. Best of luck with your college search!

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