FAQs for Juniors

Junior FAQs

Junior FAQs


        ·    Should I take the PSAT? Absolutely!  It’s good practice for the SAT and inexpensive.  It is offered only once per year in October. Sign up in early September at the                     

              Counseling Office


        ·     When should I take the ACT or SAT?  We recommend juniors take the exam(s) at least once in the spring of their junior year. Students applying to UC schools 

               must take the ACT with writing.  Some UC departments/majors may recommend one or more SAT Subject tests (e.g. math and science for engineering or science      

               majors) – check the university website or ask your counselor. 


  • How many SAT or ACTs should I take?  There is no magic number.  Look at the ‘Freshman Profile’ for the colleges you want to attend to see what the average scores are – this will give some guidance.  If feasible, take both. 


  • Do I have to take an ACT or SAT if I am going directly to the community college?  If you transfer as a junior, you will not be required to have SAT or ACT scores.  If you are not 100% sure, take one or more anyway.  What can it hurt?  Keep your options open.


  • How do I know if I am eligible to apply directly to a four-year university?  You will need to have completed the required ‘a-g’ Subject Requirements with grades of ‘C’ or better to meet minimum eligibility.  More competitive colleges will have higher expectations. Meet with your counselor to make sure you are on track and to seek guidance regarding how you can improve your chances of admission to your universities of choice.  Private universities may have different criteria (contact the Admissions office).


  • Will I have a better chance of getting into a prestigious college if I transfer from the community college as a junior? You may, depending on how strongly you performed in high school.  If you transfer as a junior, the university will consider your college performance. 


  • If I don’t need algebra 2 (or pre-calculus) to graduate, why should I take it?  Entering freshmen (community college and many universities) take a math and English exam for placement purposes.  If you do not score proficient at the intermediate (algebra 2) level, you will be placed in one or more remedial math classes which cost $$$, time and = no credit!  So, prepare while you are still in high school.


  • I’ve taken most of my challenging courses early so that I could relax in my senior year.  Is that a good idea?  NO! Colleges want to know that you challenged yourself up until the end of your high school career – a coach wouldn’t seek out an athlete who hadn’t been in training for over a year.  So, keep yourself in good academic shape.


  • When do I apply for UC, CSU or private colleges?  Between Oct. 1-Nov. 30 (CSU) and Nov. 1-30 (UC) of your senior year; private universities will have differing deadlines – check their websites.  Contact the admissions offices to get general information mailed to you.


  • Do I need letters of recommendation for college?  Not for UC or CSU schools. Private university and scholarship applications will typically require one or more letters of recommendation (check specifics).  Ask people who know you well, and give them at least two weeks notice.  Provide a resume or informational facts sheet to help secure a better recommendation.  You might consider asking your junior teachers, as they would have had the opportunity to work with you for one full term.  


  • When should I make campus visits?  Yesterday!  It’s not too early to begin checking out campuses.  Try to schedule tours when you are visiting family or during vacation.  Don’t wait until your senior year to cram in campus visits, applications, recommendations and essays.  Also, check out www.CollegeWeekLive.com for periodic virtual campus visits and college fairs online.



  • What about scholarships?  Our Career Center posts scholarships on Naviance.  Most scholarships are offered to seniors, but a few are available for juniors (e.g. Discover Card, WalMart). Go to websites such as fastweb.com,  and TuitionFundingSources.com


  • When should I apply for financial aid?  Beginning January 1 of your senior year for the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).  You can get your FAFSA PIN (www.pin.ed.gov) in the spring of your junior year, if desired.


  • Will my AP test scores earn me college credit at every university?  For the state universities, most probably.  Private colleges may handle these in different ways.  To view AP credit policy by university, go to:  www.collegeboard.com/ap/creditpolicy.


  • What if I want to play sports at a Division I or Division II school?  Register with the NCAA at the beginning of your senior year – http://eligibilitycenter.org.  Meet with your counselor to verify that you are on track to meet the NCAA requirements!