You Took the ACT / SAT; Now What?

You are working on finishing this school year strong– good grades, good test scores, continued involvement in activities. Once you’ve taken the ACT / SAT, what else should you do to be best prepared for college admission next fall? 

There are a few key things current juniors should do over the next few months to make senior year and the college application process easier. 


If you are not satisfied with your current test score, plan to retake. 

Colleges will use the best scores you send them. Some schools will superscore, taking the highest scores from each section even if they come from different test dates. Others will simply use your best results from a single test. Most students take the SAT / ACT a few times, so colleges think nothing of multiple attempts. 

You have a few opportunities to re-test before you should send applications next fall: 


  • June 10
  • July 15
  • Sept 9


  • June 3
  • Aug 26
  • Oct 7

I won’t have any group classes for the summer exams. My next set of classes will start in August and prepare students for the October tests, but I do teach a lot of private groups over the summer. You put together a few friends and neighbors and I teach in your home on a schedule that works for your group. For more information and prices:

Work on Your College List

The next few months are the perfect time to research, visit campuses, and build your college list. Where will you apply? Have you included a variety of schools to cover financial, academic, social, and admissions variables? 

I will be sharing more about this process over the next few months, but here are some recent episodes of “The College Prep Podcast” with some ideas and suggestions:

(414) New Ideas for Putting Together Your College List

(466) How To Evaluate The Level of Challenge at Different Schools

(461) Better Ideas on “Safety Schools”

Update your Resume

Most students won’t need a nicely formatted document to print and distribute. Almost all will need a list of their high school extracurricular participation: activities, sports, service, jobs, summer activities, honors, and awards. 

Take time to list everything you have done. If you haven’t been keeping up with your resume throughout high school, you may have to dig deep to remember everything, but it is better to do it now and edit than to try to remember as you type your applications next fall. 

For some additional ideas on activities: 

What Activities Look Best on College Applications

Start Work on Your College Essays

Over the summer, most students will have time to work on their college essays. Most applications won’t open until August 1, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a start on the hardest part—your essay.

I’ll just say the essay (or essays) will take longer than you think. 

My daughter has always been a good writer. We knew what she was going to write about. She was so busy the summer before her senior year that we let her put off working on her essay. Big mistake! She didn’t start until September and by that point she was starting to feel the pressure. There were tears. I’m embarrassed to tell you her last college application (the one to Rice) wasn’t submitted until winter break. We won’t make that mistake again. My son is in 10th grade and his college essays will be done before his senior year begins, even if we have to cancel a family vacation to get it done!

If you want help with this step, I teach a college essay workshop every summer and will have two this year—one in person and one live on Zoom with recordings for those with schedule conflicts. I’m finalizing details, but will announce it soon.   


It is easy to get wrapped up in end of school year activities. So many of my juniors have AP exams, prom, end of year banquets, major projects, final exams, and activities competing for their time. As a mom, I’m ready for a break. But if you take care of the items on this checklist, next fall will be easier.

Retaking the ACT/SAT, updating your resume, working on your college list, and starting on college essays will allow you to enter senior year ready to apply for college. 

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