Welcome to junior year, the most important year of the high school transcript. This will be the most recent full-year of grades submitted with your application. This is the year that highlights your mastery and expertise. The juggling act has begun with AP classes, extracurriculars, sports, all while keeping in mind the end goal—college. Two time zones, present and future, co-exist, and the key to success lies in the balance.
Your first two years of high school training are complete, and this will help you plan for this year. Through your freshman and sophomore years, you have explored and tested the rigor of coursework in different academic areas, the reward of activities, and excitement of new friends. By reflecting on that history, you can learn much about your preferences and priorities, how each decision you’ve made along the way has been an expression of your unique take on life.
With the demands of coursework reaching a new high, you should be mindful of how you’re doing in classes. Focus and attention are required. This succession of weeks and months just may be the most dramatic and significant transition of events and time before your final exit on graduation day. Developing and refining your study habits will be an important part of keeping stress at bay.
With the groundwork set, now is the time to continue to shape your path with intent. The lessons learned through hard work and good choices need to be applied to the challenges ahead. Work hard and create options for yourself. This will allow you to forge a path of success that is right for you.
During junior year, it is important keep these pointers in mind:
Increase Your Course Load
Junior year is a time for deepening your commitments. You may want to expand the number of AP courses you’re taking because your extra work can bring a big payoff. High scores on AP exams will earn you the first credits on your college transcript.
Take on Leadership Roles
Find deeper involvement in the activities you enjoy. Step forward as a leader and explore pursuits that interest you because they'll help you grow as a person and maturity is another sign of college readiness. Be sure to update your résumé, it will come in handy when you're filling out applications and preparing for admissions interviews.
Maintain a Healthy Pace
Pace yourself, keep your balance, eat well, sleep, exercise, and sleep some more! This year may be intense, but keep a check on what you can regulate, such as your best way to study, your activity choices, and how you spend time with friends. Accept what you cannot control, such as your English teacher’s method for grading essays, a standardized testing policy, or the coach’s required 6 a.m. practice on Saturday. Make individual, good choices over an extended period, and you will find yourself headed in the right direction.