Winter Work for High School Juniors

Elizabeth Hoyt

December 07, 2016

Winter Work for High School Juniors
As a high school junior, you've got a lot going on - and even more ahead.
As a high school junior, you've got a lot going on - and even more ahead. Which is why it's important to prepare now so that things will be a little less stressful later. Here's what you should be doing this winter to prepare for your college applications, entrance exams, decisions, senior year and, ultimately, that next exciting step in your student life:

Have necessary conversations –

Talk to your families about your next step after high school. Everyone needs to be on the same page and have realistic expectations for your transition to be successful. It’s helpful if your parents are honest about finances, if they’re willing to contribute to your college fund and whether or not they are willing and/or able to take out loans to fund your education. Note to parents, it’s always better to be honest with your student than making promises you cannot deliver on if they are accepted to a school that you cannot deliver on once the tuition bill arrives.

Discover more about who you are –

Certainly, at this point in life, you’re not expected to know everything about who you are – nor should you. However, you can examine aspects of yourself that will aid in finding a college that suits you as a student. Consider the following:
• What type of learning environment best suits me?
• Large or small class size?
• Big city, Suburban area, College campus or small town?
• What’s your learning style?
• Lecture hall or smaller, involved class discussions?
• Do I have the types of things I’d like to learn narrowed down*? (*i.e. English, Science, Mathematics, Drama, etc. - You do not have to have a specific major chosen but, for example, if you hate math, don’t choose a school that specializes in mathematics)

Get to Know Your Teachers –

Why? You never know when a letter of recommendation will come in handy. And they do. Often.
The simplest way to do this is by participating in class. Also, if you enjoyed what you learned in class or found a particular class discussion helpful or fruitful, let your teacher know. People appreciate hearing when they are doing their job well, especially when they don’t hear it that often (and, trust us, your teacher probably doesn't hear it that as often as they should - at least, from the students). If you are confused by a lesson, ask your teacher for extra help. Letting your teacher know that you care enough to ask for help shows that you are invested in the learning process. Make sure to follow through with putting in the extra effort that your teacher recommends, though!

Keep an Academic Focus –

Now, more than ever, your academics are of utmost importance. Keep your grades up; even if you have already satisfied all of your academic requirements, colleges want to see continual improvement all throughout high school. Your academic standing junior year says a lot about your academic performance overall. Things will become challenging, especially with college applications, college entrance exams and, as the end of high school nears, it will become easy to lose focus. Don’t. Your future can slip away just as easily as it is achieved. We don’t want to scare you but, quite frankly, you need to know.

Create a College Test Prep Plan –

There are a variety of ways to prepare for your college entrance exams and, whichever route you go is fine, as long as you remain diligent in your studies. Learn more about preparing for your college entrance exams.

Challenge Yourself Senior Year –

In creating your senior year class schedule, you may think, It’s my senior year. I've paid my dues and satisfied all of my high school requirements. I deserve a break. Sorry, future senior, but you’re absolutely mistaken. Colleges look for students that continue to challenge themselves all throughout high school – which includes senior year. As a rule, you should challenge yourself up until you walk across that stage on graduation day. Choose your course wisely senior year. Take the time to create a schedule that explores your interests and, perhaps, even earns college course credit. Colleges will recognize your accomplishments, trust us.

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