Student Life

Making the Most of Your Junior Year in High School

Start your college search on the right foot and begin the college search during your junior year.

Student Contributor, Alondra Arevalo

September 03, 2021

Making the Most of Your Junior Year in High School
Have fun -- and start the college search throughout this year.
Your junior year of high school is such an important time in your life. This is the year to get all of those challenging classes in, and really prepare to show colleges what you are made of! Do not let this worry you, with the right mindset, you will be able to accomplish anything you set your mind to. With that being said, here are a few things to keep in mind this year as you prepare to enter your final year of high school (the best one yet)!

Start Your College List

I know you have heard this all throughout high school, but you should really be keeping your college list in the back of your mind. Making a list now not only saves you time and energy senior year, it just makes everything else fall into place as well, like whether or not you decide to take standardized tests, what you want to major in, and even your career choices. You can start by looking through so many online resources (College Board’s Big Future College Search and Niche are very popular), and from there narrow down your options! I recommend having at least ten on your list, then narrow down (or up) however much you would like later on.

Apply For Scholarships

Another huge one: working for scholarships for high school juniors now will save you so much time and energy in the future. You can start right now on Fastweb by creating a profile, and you will automatically be matched with legit scholarships you may qualify for! You do not need essays or supplements for some of them either, so it doesn’t hurt to apply for a few. Your wallet will thank you in the future.

Decide Whether or Not You Should Take Standardized Tests

A popular thing happening now with colleges is that many of them are going test-optional. This can either be a great thing or a bad thing. If you believe that your application will look best without a score, you are all set without a test.
However, if you think you will excel during the test, maybe consider taking it. You will most likely have until December of your senior year to take it, but it is always good to plan ahead so you know what you will be expecting. You may also qualify for fee-waivers, so it doesn’t hurt to try!

Plan Financially

The money aspect of college may not seem serious now, but it is vital that you consider your finances when planning your future! Especially if you want to avoid student debt. Really take costs like tuition and room & board into consideration, and plan accordingly with that. Talk to your family about it too, so you can have a clear idea of what to expect.
You can get an estimate of how much federal aid you will get by filling out the FAFSA4Caster and you can also check how you can repay your loans through the FAFSA Loan Simulator. In case you don’t know, you must fill out the FAFSA in order to get aid for colleges, so keep this in the back of your mind!


Volunteering, especially during these times, will look amazing on your college applications! There are so many different organizations all across the country, online and in-person. It shows colleges that you are a community leader, and that you are a good person who cares for others. The community service can be as little as tutoring a classmate or as big as volunteering in a hospital. As long as you are helping your community and making a positive impact, it counts!

Work Hard in All Classes

An obvious one, you want to have the best grades possible this year. Your sophomore and junior years are arguably the most important years to colleges, so really take the time to manage all of your work well. Try your hardest not to procrastinate, study as much as possible, but don’t forget to take time for yourself too! A positive and energized mind is essential to success in class!

Have Fun as a Junior in High School!

Junior year is such an amazing time; please do not forget to have fun! Go to all the dances, go to all the football games, go to any activities your school is offering. You never know what life will throw at you, so take every opportunity that comes your way! You want to look back at high school positively. Make every moment count this year and the next! I wish all of you luck in your junior year. It is going to be rough, full of ups and downs. However, it is an experience that you will never forget. Do not forget to be as positive as you can, and try not to stress! You have time to complete the things I mentioned; they are all just things to keep at the back of your mind. Do not worry; you got this!

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