Juniors, decrease your college stress today

Tips for how juniors can get ahead on college applications


Emily Waite

Juniors can apply for the Coolidge Scholarship at https://coolidgescholars.org/ . This full-ride presidential scholarship that can be used at any accredited college or university in the US.

Emily Waite, Senior Reporter

College. This word can cause excitement for many students, but the idea of having to prepare for college can be stressful. Getting a head start can be one of the best ways to help reduce some of the stress that comes with the college application process. While juniors cannot apply to any colleges this year, they can start to make preparations for their senior year.

One of the first steps towards preparing yourself for college is to decide which schools are the best fit for you. Making a list of a few schools that you really want to go to can help you focus on the most important applications. 

“Now the best thing is to research the colleges that you want to go to. You can do virtual tours online, you could go visit those colleges, but really getting that list down. Your senior year is going to be really, really busy. If you already have that, then it’s just gonna make it so much easier,” said Jennifer Trainor, Gifted/ Talented Coordinator.  

According to Trainor, applying to too many colleges can be worse in the long run. Applying to more schools than a student can handle makes them look unprepared. 

“Some students apply to 20 colleges, which is not in their best interest. It’s just so many. That just means to me you haven’t done your research,” Trainor said.

Manitou Springs High School offers AP courses and classes through Pikes Peak Community College. Although students are not guaranteed college credits by taking these courses they are weighted, which means they can help to boost a student’s GPA. Since students will be choosing their courses for next year soon, juniors should look into PPCC courses and AP classes. 

I’m taking several AP courses this year, and they boost your GPA, which also helps colleges to notice you. So that’s why I’m trying to boost my GPA as much as I can before I graduate,” said Ava Christian, current junior at MSHS.

At the beginning of a student’s senior year, students have to start applying to scholarships and colleges. A helpful tool is the Common Application. “You just do one application and you can click on different colleges that you want that one application to go to. So it’s really efficient. So now juniors can start filling that information out because it’s kind of a lengthy application. So that’s a good thing to start doing now,” Trainor said.

Money can be a major source of stress from the college process. A great way to help solve this issue is with scholarships. “The magic of getting the most money is to apply to the most scholarships. So the more that you apply, the more opportunities you have to get free money,” Trainor said.

While there are not a ton of scholarships that juniors can apply to now, there are a few options. The first is the Coolidge Scholarship. This is a full-ride, presidential scholarship that covers a student’s tuition, room, board and expenses for four years of undergraduate study. The deadline for this scholarship is January 26, 2022. Another good option is the QuestBridge Prep Program. This is offered to juniors with excellent academic abilities despite financial challenges. 

And finally, if you are not sure where to start. Begin with creating a FastWeb account. “This is kind of like a dating site for scholarships because you put in your information and it matches scholarships to work for you,” Trainor said.