While high school seniors are making their final college decisions in the spring semester, juniors should also be setting themselves up for success in their college search.
“With their senior year right around the corner, I encourage juniors to prepare with exercises of self-reflection, practical preparation and external research,” said Missouri Military Academy (MMA) Director of College & Career Placement William Roundey. “At MMA, we provide our junior cadets with specific tasks they can start in the spring and complete prior to their return in the fall, when we begin a more aggressive college planning process.”
MMA maintains a 100% college acceptance rate each year for graduating cadets. This year, the class of 50 cadets has earned more than $5 million in scholarships so far, and MMA seniors have been accepted to the University of Notre Dame, Purdue University, Penn State University, DePaul University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Holt International Business School, Loyola University, and more.
Task 1: Self-Reflection
Emphasizing the concept of “college fit” – finding a college that best suits their individual needs and goals – juniors should review lists of top colleges and universities, such as those published by US News & World Report and other media. They should critically evaluate the criteria each publication uses to determine the “best” school and compare it to their personal evaluation criteria – such as location, student-to-teacher ratio, cost of tuition and more.
Through this exercise, juniors gain a greater understanding of what they are looking for in a college, as well as expand their list of potential colleges.
Task 2: Practical Preparation
Juniors who have not taken the ACT and SAT, or those who wish to improve their scores, are encouraged to sign up for the upcoming tests this summer.
Task 3: External Research
Juniors should educate themselves on potential schools, costs and available scholarships:
- Use the college search engines located on MMA’s college planning page to generate a starting list of colleges they are interested. Their list must be organized into tiered groups: safe schools, target schools and reach schools.
- Contact their schools directly to ask questions about their programs and desired major. By contacting the school directly, cadets will be paired with an admissions counselor, who will answer their questions and act as their point of contact at the school.
- Use the Net Price Calculator to get an estimate of what the cost at each school might be.
- Check out the scholarship search engines on MMA’S financial aid planning page and begin identifying scholarships they would like to apply for, making special note of submission requirements and deadlines.
- Create an account with Common App and link it to their Naviance account.
“By doing this research, cadets will have a strong foundation of knowledge – and hopefully, specific questions for me – when we begin the college planning process in the fall,” said Roundey.