Attention all rising juniors - your time has come to embark upon the journey of junior year. This year is arguably one of the most academically intensive that you will experience during high school. However, this does not mean that you back down from the challenge. In this article, I will be going through my top tips to strategically power through junior year with as little burn-out as possible. That way, you will be going into senior year feeling empowered to tackle the college admissions process.
#1: Spend your time wisely after school
Every moment matters during junior year. For the first time, you will find yourself thinking, "I need an extra hour in the day!" In order to make certain that you do not feel this way and stay in a healthy habit of being on top of your school work, use your time after school extremely wisely. What I always recommend is depending on when you get home, give yourself an hour-and-a-half to completely relax. Watch a show, eat food, nap, etc. Then, create your daily to-do list and rank the time it will take to complete each item. Spend one hour focusing on the easy work. Then take another break for thirty minutes. Finally, come back and set aside a larger chunk of time towards your time-consuming work. Try and work effectively and with focus in order to always be on-top of your schoolwork and never struggling the next morning.
#2: Pick the right AP courses
I cannot stress this enough: you are not showing colleges anything by taking a plethora of APs that are not helping your overall grades. You have to play to your strengths! The best decision that I made for myself this year is dropping AP Language and Composition. I knew that writing and reading were not my strong suit and decided to drop the class before the beginning of the school year. This gave me time to focus on my other difficult AP classes that I knew I could be successful in, such as AP Chemistry. In order to pick the APs that will work best for you, think about your favorite classes. If you are a math/science individual or a history/language individual, your skill set is different. Accordingly, sign up for humanities or STEM-based APs. That way, you are playing to your strengths, which your grades will ultimately attest for.
#3: Be intentional with your work in your ECs
Colleges are looking for individuals who have demonstrated passion within their varied interests. It is extremely crucial to work hard to maintain your theme (something I spoke about in earlier posts) and continue to nurture this aspect of your application by becoming increasingly involved. Use your time after school in clubs and external organizations to lead change and create a positive impact on your own accord for the areas that you are passionate about. Whether that be environmental change or racial justice, use your time to cement yourself as a leader within your niche. Not only will you become a trusted member of your community, but will begin to develop a leadership style. As you work more with individuals and gain their respect, you are laying the groundwork for leadership positions this or next year!
#4: Create your persona
People should hear your name and think about your best qualities and the work you have done to help the student body. Think about what you want to be known for. What work have you done for your community? How have you given back? What is your theme that you are known for? These questions should be top-of-mind for individuals who are talking about you. In order to do this, you have to maintain the same work ethic and attitude towards everything that you do. Keep a professional and well-mannered demeanor with both teachers and peers, as these small things will keep a long-lasting impact for those around you. It will be who you are known as and what you will be remembered as at your respective high school.
#5: Develop close relationships with teachers and administration
Not many people realize how important the relationships you make with teachers and administration becomes until you are tasked with requesting letters of recommendation. You need to keep this in mind when interacting with your teachers and administration. Try and find ways to stay connected with administration through your work in extracurriculars and clubs. Keep on top of work with your teachers to make sure that you come across as an individual who is on-time and on-track with their work. These will be the traits that teachers will write about in their letters. The more you keep your persona professional, the more respectable you will look to those reading the letters of recommendation!
I really hope that this article helps you all as you use your summer to begin planning junior year. Additionally, please feel free to contact me by DMing me @eviespaceblog on Instagram for any additional questions or advice!