Spring 2020: 11th Grade Updates

Spring 2020: 11th Grade Updates

  • by
  • Mar 30, 2020
yellow desk with computer keyboard and office supplies

Coronavirus has changed daily life as we know it, but one thing it hasn’t changed is that spring is still a good time for high school juniors to explore colleges and stay on track to apply next fall. How you do that will be different this year, but you can still do it.

Keep learning.

As always, it’s important to keep up with your school work.


  • Participate in the distance learning opportunities your school offers. Or use Khan Academy to continue learning new knowledge and skills.
  • Study for and take AP exams. You'll take the exams from home this year. Prepare by adding the dates and times to your calendar, making a study schedule and participating in virtual AP review courses.
  • Read! Libraries may be closed, but you can download e-books to your device for free.
  • Journal. Write, paint, draw or doodle. Document how you're spending your time and what you're thinking about. Bonus: you might discover that an entry is a great basis for your college and scholarship essays!
  • Take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health. Spend time connecting virtually with friends and family, get regular exercise, and get enough sleep.

Create your college list.

Planning for your education after high school should include having some ideas about your career interests as well as the type of college that will be a good fit for you academically, socially and financially. To stay on track to apply next fall, now is a good time to make a list of 20 or so colleges you want to continue exploring.


  • Watch some videos in the Virtual College Night to learn how to begin.
  • Make a list of three careers you are interested in and the training or education (including program or major) you will need.
  • Review your options for types of colleges. Think about the most important things to consider in choosing a college.
  • Make a list of colleges you want to explore. It’s good to have an idea of what you think you want, but now is also a good time to keep an open mind about colleges. Include both big and small colleges. Add some that are close to home and some that are farther away. Have some on your list where it’s common to have very large lecture classes and some where you’re more likely to find small discussion classes.
  • Begin learning about the colleges on your list. Visit the college websites. Go on virtual tours. Follow their social media accounts, both the official ones and those of student groups or teams you'd be interested in joining. Make note of what you discover, what you like and what you don’t. Use your likes and dislikes to add or remove colleges from your list.

Explore how to pay for college.

You can afford college. In fact, there are many options to help you pay for it.


  • Estimate how much college will cost. Compare net prices of the colleges on your list to know what to expect.
  • Search for scholarships. Make a list of scholarships you are eligible for – there may even be some that you can apply for right now. Use our It’s A Plan Google Doc workbook or app to keep track.

Get a head start on your applications.


  • Learn about admissions tests and test optional admissions. Many colleges require students to take the SAT or ACT as part of their application for admissions. And many colleges do not require the SAT or ACT including all of Oregon’s public colleges and universities and most of our private, not-for-profit colleges. Learn about what it means for a college to be test optional, who should still take the test(s) and decide what makes sense for you.
  • Do you want to play sports in college? Depending on the level, you may have additional requirements for your application. In some cases, you can begin the recruitment process now. For example, for athletes expecting to play at the NCAA Division I or II level, you need to be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center, ideally by spring of your junior year.
  • Make a list of all of the activities you have participated in. Also, write down any awards you have received. Use our It’s A Plan Google Doc workbook or app to keep track.
  • Practice writing college and scholarship essays. Write a personal statement about who you are and your unique qualities.