Global Curriculum
Life Planning & College Counseling

11th Grade

As a junior, your best academic performance is paramount. Challenge yourself with rigorous classes while staying focused on your health and wellness. In addition to getting great grades, now is the time to immerse yourself in leadership roles and deepen your commitment to a couple of activities that are meaningful to you. Colleges are interested in seeing that you have an impact on your community and will bring that kind of involvement to their campus community as well.

Junior year is the right year to start visiting college campuses and getting a feel for the kind of places that resonate with you. For tips on visits and what to look for, be sure to check out the “College Visits and Interviews” section on our Life Planning website, as well as in the document library on Naviance.

Because this is the year when you will start focusing more intently on college research, ask yourself:

  • What is my preferred learning style and environment?
  • Where will I blossom and shine?
  • Where will I make a mark and get involved?
  • Where will I connect with mentors and have valuable learning/work experiences?
  • Where will I stay well?



Take the PSAT exam in October.
  • Debrief after scores are returned, and create a My College QuickStart account on the College Board website to begin self-assessment and college search plans.
  • Attend fall Junior/Parent Life Planning evening.
  • Attend a few college rep visits at Vistamar to begin to get a feel for what’s out there.
  • Attend the Vistamar Multicultural College Fair.
  • Familiarize yourself with Naviance and update your resume on the site.  Also take the “Do What You Are” personality survey.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!  Junior year grades are the key benchmark for college admissions officers, so this is the year for your strongest academic performance ever. Think harder!


If possible, consider visiting a few colleges over Thanksgiving break.  This is a good time either for a quick road trip or to see local schools of various types to try to narrow down what style of school feels right to you. Remember to fill out evaluation sheets for all schools you see on Naviance. Sit for practice ACT (offered at Vistamar and at various test prep companies around town) to see if you like this test better than the SAT.


  • Get caught up on sleep, focus on good nutrition, and get some exercise every day.
  • Get ahead on your winter trimester studies.
  • Start thinking about what your summer activities might be: test prep? cash job? interning or volunteering? college visits? course to remediate a low grade? mix of this and more?
  • Visit some colleges if possible and fill out evaluation sheets on them.
  • Make your final selection between ACT and SAT and begin test prep


  • Work to secure best possible grades, as this is your most important year academically.
  • Attend Junior/Parent Life Planning evening in February.
  • Sit for practice ACT (offered at Vistamar and at various test prep companies around town) to see if you like this test better than the SAT.
  • Examine your spring calendar to see if you have time and energy to fit in some test preparation for SAT or ACT exams.  If you have room to prepare, consider prepping for an April, May or June sitting for one of these exams.  DO NOT PREP AT THE EXPENSE OF YOUR GRADES.


  • Register for spring ACT, SAT, and SAT Subject tests.  (See Standardized Testing).  School Code: 053973
  • Use Spring Break for local college visits with the goal being to see a variety of types of schools. Don’t forget to fill out the visit evaluation sheets.


  • Secure summer plans: travel, internships, jobs, courses.
  • Register for summer school at local community colleges.
  • Attend the array of college fairs available in the area.
  • Meet with your assigned Life Planning counselor to begin the discussion of which schools you might like to apply to.
  • Take ACT if this is the test you think you might prefer.


  • Prep for and take AP examinations for current AP courses.
  • Work on college essay strategies (UC and Common Application)
  • Take SAT if appropriate.
  • Review senior year course schedule with your Advisor and your Life Planning counselor and register online for classes.


  • Finish junior year with strong academic performances!
  • Take SAT or ACT if you have not yet done so, OR SAT Subject tests if appropriate for you.
  • Submit preliminary college list to the Life Planning Office via Naviance (“Colleges I’m Thinking About” on Colleges tab).
  • Secure teacher recommendations from faculty who know you at your best.
  • Review transcript for accuracy. If you are a transfer to Vistamar, make sure Vistamar has transcripts from prior institution(s) and that these documents are accurate.
Vistamar School is a private independent high school in the South Bay region of Los Angeles
Vistamar School  |  737 Hawaii Street, El Segundo, CA 90245  |  T: 310.643.7377  |  F: 310.643.7371