It’s practically the end of junior year. You’re almost a senior.

You can just coast from here on. (Not!)

If you ignore these four easy tasks, you’ll definitely miss out on getting a head start on your senior year.

On the other hand, you could always decide to make life easier on yourself next year and do these four things in the short time left that you’re still a junior.

It’s up to you.

Rec Letters

Teachers love to encourage their students and help them succeed, but they don’t love getting surprised by recommendation letter requests with tight deadlines.

Ask the teachers that you want recommendation letters from whether they’re able and willing to write one.

How many teachers should you ask?

Colleges vary on the number of teacher recommendations they require. Some ask for zero; others ask for three.

The teachers will definitely appreciate the heads up, and you’ll feel great knowing that your recommendations are locked in.

School Counselor

Every school counselor has hundreds of students. They care a lot about the students they serve and do excellent work in advising them.

But they’re really, really busy.

A junior who asks the counselor questions at the end of junior year is going to have better direction than the senior who isn’t proactive.

Getting answers in advance of the “rush” could easily help guide you in an unexpected direction.

It’s not too outrageous to say that starting early could change your life. Learning about college options now as opposed to later will give you all the more time to prepare.

Transcripts

This one sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s actually pretty important.

Review your transcript for errors.

You’ll be applying to college on the strength of your first three years of high school. Since you’re nearly done with those, it makes sense to check your transcript for accuracy.

Make sure that honors and advanced courses are properly noted. Make sure that your grades are correct.

You might have records from more than one school. Request your transcripts from former schools as well as your current one.

If there’s a problem accessing your transcripts, you’ll find out now instead of five days before college applications are due. And if there’s an error on the transcripts, you can address them now instead of…yeah, five days before applications are due.

Transcript review is a minor task with a potentially huge impact.

College List

Oh, hey, college. That’s coming up, isn’t it?

The earliest college applications can be due on November 1, which is only six months away.

You don’t have to panic yet, but you do have to realize that actions taken now will make your life way easier in just a short amount of time.

Finalizing your college list can be a huge weight off your shoulders.

An experienced college counselor can help you build your perfect list by recommending that colleges you may not have thought of before.

Steve Peifer, VP of College Counseling at KD College Prep, has visited more than 1500 colleges. That level of knowledge can help students find hidden gems and the right fit.

Once your list is finalized, you can actually start assembling the pieces of the application. Like those transcripts and recommendation letters that you’ve been working on.

Not to mention you’ll be taking steps toward the amazing, wonderful feeling of freedom and excitement that comes when you’ve been accepted to college!

You could put these tasks off a little longer, sure. After all, finals are coming up, and you just want to think about summer.

Or you could decide to get a head start on your success by jumpstarting the college application process with a little proactivity. Choose wisely.