If you are just beginning the process, consult the Freshman\Sophomore Year checklist and complete all the tasks.
During the junior year you will begin discussions with your school counselor about which colleges you should investigate based on your academic fit and personal preferences.
At this stage it is especially important for you to pay close attention to the net price estimates for each school so that you do not waste time and money visiting colleges that are not affordable for your family.
Even more importantly, you want to avoid a situation where you fall in love with a “dream” school only to find out after you have been admitted that it is not an affordable option.
Review your Family Resource Worksheet and record any changes to the amounts of money you have available to pay for college.
Don’t lose all hope if some of your favorite target schools look unaffordable based on the initial net price estimates. Although some schools provide precise net price estimates that are based on your specific academic credentials and/or financial circumstances, other schools provide less precise net price estimates that are based on average student awards from the previous year -and often from two years ago.
It is ok to have a school or two on your list that is a financial reach, just like you might have a couple schools that are an academic reach. But it is important that you understand up front which colleges are less likely to be affordable. Then, if you work very hard, you might be able to close the affordability gap by securing a big haul of outside scholarships.
Update your test scores, GPA and academic interest where appropriate and run new searches.
Pay close attention to the essay requirements and application deadlines so you can begin to plan for the amount of outside scholarship application work you will have during the summer between junior and senior year. Since you will probably also be writing essays for your admissions applications at the same time, you will have to budget your time carefully.NEXT