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Resource Roadmap to Senior Year

By: TXCAN   |   January 2022

Conversations and planning done during Junior year can have a huge impact on a student’s postsecondary plans and lay the foundation for a great Senior year. Learn about resources available to counselors and advisors that can facilitate these conversations.

There is no better time to lay the foundation for college planning than Junior year. Students are excited to be one year closer to graduation, and there are no looming college deadlines or financial aid applications to stress over. This can allow you, as a practitioner, the leeway to spread out important conversations and develop strong relationships going into Senior year. However, if you are not sure where to start or need some inspiration, outlined below is a roadmap to an impactful Junior year.


 A student’s academic standing is slowly built up over the course of their high school career, but few students realize just how important Junior year can be. GPA and class ranking calculated at the close of Junior year are often shared with colleges and universities through official transcripts and used to make admissions decisions. A high academic standing can help students meet automatic admissions criteria and open more doors in terms of financial aid. Working hard during junior year can have big payoffs during application time. Examples of online resources for improving academic success can be found in this 2020 article published by Forbes.


For many students, Junior year is the first time they will take either the SAT and/or the ACT. Dedicating the time during Junior year to prepare for the SAT/ACT can help students achieve higher scores and reduce the time spent preparing to retake the exam during their Senior year. Although many colleges and universities are moving to a test-optional admissions process, entrance exam scores can still be used to access financial aid or meet automatic admissions deadlines. There are many great resources available to inform and prepare students for the SAT/ACT, such as the Texas OnCourse Academy, Future Focused Texas, College Board, and ACT.

College Application Materials

Senior year can often be hectic. Time must be dedicated to gathering documents, writing college application essays, building resumes, and collecting letters of recommendation. Instead of waiting till Senior year, start the process a year earlier.

  • Financial Aid Applications:

    Review FAFSA/TASFA document requirements to get students and parents familiar with the forms needed. This will make it less intimidating and give families time to gather the necessary documents.

  • College Admission Essays:

    Practice writing college admissions essays. Practice makes perfect when it comes to writing, but if your students are struggling to get started, CollegeBoard and Princeton Review both offer insightful tips and tricks. Additionally, search for writing examples from successful candidates such as those shared by Johns Hopkins. And for students who are ahead of the curve and already have essays drafted, have them take advantage of the FFTX College Application Essay Review Tool that provides actionable suggestions and feedback from advisors within one week for free!

  • Recommendation Letters & Resumes:

    Create a resume at the beginning of the year and emphasize updating it often. This can help students track their activities and give them a larger range of examples and extracurriculars to draw from when completing college applications, as well as set them up for success when requesting recommendation letters. FFTX provides a great resume template for students and also provides free resume reviews as well!

While this blog post relays a resource roadmap for Junior year, it is never too early to begin having conversations with students about their postsecondary plans. Generation TX has some great checklists for Middle Schoolers, Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors, so you can guide students wherever they may be in their student experience.

The Texas College Access Network (TxCAN) connects and supports college access initiatives across Texas, with the goal of increasing access to college and certificate programs.