11th Grade College Readiness

Applying to College Timeline



  • Continue to work hard in your classes to get the best grades you can. 11th grade can be the hardest year for high school students who carry a full schedule of challenging classes. Discuss your course options with your counselor, and build in time to exercise and rest.
  • Look into becoming an OSSE Scholar. The OSSE Scholars Summer Enrichment Program is designed for academically strong, and personally driven 10th or 11th grade students that demonstrate financial need.

Sports & Extracurriculars

  • Register with the NCAA if you’re thinking about playing a sport in college.
  • Make sure you will fulfill Jackson-Reed’s community service requirements before graduation.
  • Participate in activities you are interested in and try to take on a leadership role.


  • Take the PSAT in October; explore the National Merit Scholarship Program.
  • Take the SAT or ACT in the spring. All DCPS high schools have an In-School SAT Day for juniors in the spring. Many colleges are currently test-optional, but if any of the schools you would like to apply to require the SAT or ACT, you still need to take it.

Build Your College List

  • Attend college fairs.
  • Visit the websites of colleges you are interested in and take note of course requirements, distribution requirements, and specifics about the majors you are interested in.
  • Start a college list.
  • Make college visits in the spring and summer. Try to narrow your choices so that by the fall of your senior year you will know where you want to apply.
  • Meet with college representatives when they visit Jackson-Reed.


Request letters of recommendation

As early as the spring of your junior year, ask two teachers if they will write letters of recommendation for your college applications. Normally recommended are core-class teachers in 10th or 11th grade, but this might vary depending on your intended major.

Plan for Senior Year

  • Meet with your counselor to discuss your senior schedule. Make sure your senior courses meet Jackson-Reed’s graduation requirements and that you’re taking the courses you need for college.
  • Make sure you will fulfill Jackson-Reed’s community service requirements before graduation.
  • Consider applying for a Dual Enrollment program, which allows you to take a course for credit at a college in DC.
  • Consider applying for the National Honor Society, an organization that is nationally known for high standards of membership.