The Most Important Year of High School – Junior Year


Nidhi Patel, Staff Writer

The high school year generally disregarded is inarguably the junior year. The junior year is one of those middle years lost between the first year’s anxiety and the enthusiasm and bittersweetness of senior year. This year, juniors (class of 2022) have a different experience than other high school juniors in other years due to Covid-19. In this momentous year of high school, students make critical decisions that could have a major impact on the next four years of their life (and beyond) as they start narrowing lists of colleges and career paths. In eleventh grade, students definitely have the potential to juggle a lot. High levels of study loads, standardized tests, and out-of-school activities can make it difficult for students to balance everything on their plate. Here are a few tips that will make your junior year less stressful. 


Tip 1 – Set goals and stay focused on your goals. 

It is incredibly easy to lose perspective on the wider picture of the ACT and SAT, college enrollment, scholarships, and society. But remember that you can do it. 

  • Make yourself sticky notes on what you hope to accomplish in a day, week, month, or year. 
  • Set daily goals for yourself on what you want to really work on. (ie. one SAT prep question a day, or extra reading/annotating your AP textbook, etc.)


Tip 2 – Get Organized!

  • College mail, exam learning books, research guides, and information on scholarships will easily add up messy things. It’s not the junior year to have uncertainty! Take all these loose papers and find a comfortable spot to relax. Create a pile of “trash” and a pile of “keep” and separate the loose papers into two sections. 
  • Get a decent planner if you don’t already have one. You will track homework, holidays, vacations, and more school related due-dates with planners.


Tip 3 – Meet with your Counselor

  • Your closest friend during your high school year, your counselor! You should first visit them to ensure that you are on the right track to graduation. They’ll layout the rest of the WCPSS required courses to graduate along with recommendations in terms of university/college plans. They will inspire you and make it much easier for you to finish the second half of junior year.  Building this connection also means that this person can also write you a recommendation letter for you! (score!!) 
  • For more knowledge on your counselor, check the “Student Services” tab on the GHHS website. Meetings for the first semester are all virtual.


Tip 4 – Get More Involved

It’s time to get together and just do activities that matter most to you, whether it’s a sport, a club, a job, or some other activity that you do. Since you would need to break your time by all the other hectare sections of the junior year, do stuff because you like them. It is easier to work on a couple of things you enjoy to do them well, rather than being a part of too many clubs for you to even count!

  • Clubs and extracurriculars on your resume show that you want to learn outside of your required core courses. It also shows your initiative to better yourself and immerse into the student life. The longer you’re in a club, the better.
  • With getting more involved, evaluate your participation in your activities and clubs- this will be crucial for college planning/applications. 
  • (Check our Club Features page for more membership info!)


Tip 5 – Start thinking about college and join virtual college tours. 

  • After taking PSAT or PreACT, colleges are going to start contacting you so start by making a folder for your college emails and a box for college mail.
  • For e-mails, look through any from colleges you’re thinking of applying to and file away any that you know you’re not interested in. Sometimes demonstrating interest/opening these university emails could better your chances in applying!
  • College tours are different this year due to the virus but look into the college that you are interested in, they might have a live session or website to get to know the school better. They can make or break your decision on a school. 

Tip 6 – Prep for Standardized Tests

  • This year testing will most likely be an option for many colleges, but if you’re considering taking the SAT or ACT, start practicing in advance. 
  • While preparing or deciding which to sign up for, try to choose between what kind of test-taker you are, SAT, or ACT. There are major differences between them. One provides more time with larger sections while the other is quick. For more information try doing some research on the college board or Khan Academy. 
  • After you decide which one best fits for you then try taking PSAT or PreACT. (As a junior, the ACT is offered through our school).
  • Set a goal and focus on your goal, set up a study schedule and a practice test schedule, and if possible, get a tutor—whatever it takes to reach that goal.
  • Be sure to plan out a testing calendar to make sure you have enough time to prepare, test, and retake. For the SAT and ACT, a retake can be good, especially when colleges superscore (taking the highest scores from each subsection) this not only demonstrates how much you care to improve but how effective your studying habits improved this score.
  • But while mentioning these big tests it’s important to remember: your test scores don’t define you. A bad test score isn’t the end of the world, but a good test score can keep a lot of doors open so don’t completely dismiss them!


Tip 7- FAFSA?

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid. FAFSA is what colleges will use to accept and award financial aid to you. The application opens on October 1st of every year. Try going into their website and getting more information in preparation for your college hunt. 


Tip 8- Scholarships

  • There are many different websites that offer scholarships but be careful they can be scammed. Try asking your counselor, family member, or friends. 
  • One of the best resources is the Junior year google classroom, where counselors put up all the information that you need to know about scholarships and other details. 

Tip 9- Stay healthy and safe. 

  • Pay attention to your body’s physical and emotional needs due to the stress that you will be under from schoolwork, activities, and more.
  • Exercise, eat healthily, and talk to someone if you are not feeling as happy as you normally are.
  • Get enough sleep. This is one of the hardest things to do as a junior. An extra hour spent on anything can go a long way. Make sure it’s worth your time, and if not, just take a nap. 

Tip 10- Have fun!!

  • Junior year can be stressful but having fun/making the most of one of your final years is more important than that. Try meditation, running, cleaning, and doing any of your hobbies that are all good ways to relax.
  • Socialize with your friends and your community. Although lots of social interaction and bonding has been put on the backburner with the virus any possible way you can hang out with friends is a great pastime. Ameena, Emma, and Annie’s article addresses many creative but more importantly safe ways to interact with people during this strange time!
  • Always remember, it’s a great day to be a Falcon!


I hope these few tips might help you a little bit!


If you know any huper-stressed juniors or parents, share the link with your friends and family members- good luck!!