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Junior Year Survival Guide

Between AP classes, standardized testing, extracurricular activities, and a social life, junior year can be very overwhelming. As I approach the end of eleventh grade, I have been able to reflect on my successes and failures. Below are some tips on how to survive junior year.

Choose the Right Classes

If you have the flexibility in choosing some of your classes, use this to your advantage! When deciding which courses to pursue, reach out to teachers, other students who may have taken the class, and discuss it with your parents. Do not feel forced to take an advanced class simply for the designation, if you truly do not have any interest in the subject. Try to find classes that you are genuinely fascinated with and that will challenge you. If your school curriculum does not offer the classes you would like to take, consider enrolling in an online class or finding classes at a local college that you could attend. Either way, make sure your curriculum aligns with your academic interests, as you will automatically enjoy your courses and feel more motivated to succeed.

Stay Organized

Use a planner and meet with teachers when needed. A planner is the best tool for staying organized as it helps you plan assignments weeks in advance and ensures that you are proactive about seeking help. In addition, a planner will help you determine study plans and figure out your availability for extracurricular activities. In my experience, I have found that teachers truly appreciate when students reach out to them because it reflects their devotion to the class as well as their desire to improve.

Commitment is Key

In regards to your activities, it is imperative that the extracurricular endeavors you pursue reflect your interests and passions. Participating in every club at your school or trying to become a member of all of the varsity sports teams offered will not necessarily give you a competitive advantage in the college admissions process. Colleges are not looking for a laundry list of activities with low commitment; instead, they are looking for students who are committed to their interests and can clearly articulate how each activity or project fits into their narrative.

Create Standardized Testing Plans

Plan your standardized testing as soon as possible! Although it may seem like you have plenty of time to complete all of the tests that may be required for the schools you applying to, you will find that it is easy to get caught up with homework and other priorities. Planning ahead for the ACT/SAT will not only allow you to focus on your grades, but also alleviate some of the stress surrounding this process. The application you submit to colleges includes a variety of important factors, and approaching this process in steps will help you ensure that your application is the best representation of who you are.

Although it is important to prioritize your academics in high school and especially in junior year, it is okay to have and fun and not feel obligated to do homework 24/7. In fact, for your own sanity, take the time you need to relax and don’t forget the importance of sleep!