I made a similar article last year giving tips to sophomores about dealing with their sophomore year. It’s a big transition from freshman to sophomore year, but it’s a similar transition from sophomore to junior year. There are greater expectations of you and there’s a lot of things to get done. There’s also a lot of things to think about. That’s why I decided to give my two-sense for a second time, and provide you guys with some tips and tricks to handle this year with ease. Ok, maybe not ease. More like somewhat comfortably. Anyways, to all the juniors out there, keep reading to learn more about what to do to tackle this strenuous year:

Challenge yourself in some difficult courses.

Firstly, colleges are looking at your transcripts and want to see yourself in rigorous classes. Consequently, depending on the college you are looking to attend this is the year to push yourself in Honors/AP classes. If you want to go to an elite/selective school, you’ll probably have to pile on the hard classes. If you’re looking for a less selective school, then you probably do not have to take as many. You have to make the choice for you, and stick with it. If you can push through this year, you’ll be even closer to being done with college admissions process and relax for a little bit. Senior year is the light at the end of the dark tunnel, but you have to navigate the dark tunnel first.

Start researching college information. Use College Night to help get a better idea of where you want to go.

At a college preparatory school, college is always around the corner at all grade levels. However, it is staring you right in the face this year, and knowing your interests can help you pick some schools. Small private university or big public university? Social life? Athletics? On the coast, in a small town, or big city? Warm or cold environment? Start answering some of these questions, because if you know where you want to go in general, then you can prepare adequately for junior year. Consider getting one of those huge college information books like Fiske’s Best Colleges to learn more. Where do you see your future?

Get ready for your standardized testing. Use the PSAT to help prep you for the SAT/ACT.

I’m not sure how testing will go this year, but you should still get ready for it anyway. The PSAT really helps you understand where you are in terms of scoring and progress. Take some time and look at Khan Academy’s resources or take a seminar on the test. Look over some practice tests and ask questions with your counselor about the test. It’s just a check on the list. Once you get the score you want, you’re good to go.

Step up and take active involvement in a club or activity.

Leadership is an important indicator for all applicants, and there are many ways to show it. Maybe it’s receiving a promotion at your job or taking a senior leader position at your service group. There are many options, but it is important to take an active role in your extracurriculars. It can even be joining or forming a new club. I don’t really want to go over this, because it varies so much for everyone. It’s all about proving to the world that you can and will do something, and colleges along with later want leaders like that.

Use your friends as a positive influence. 

Your friends can make or break your year. They can motivate you to work hard and push through the year or distract you from what’s important. Good friends can be a resource to help collaborate on tough assignments and a friend to vent to about difficult classes. I’m not saying that having fun with friends is a bad thing. In fact, you need friends more than ever this year beyond school purposes. Nevertheless, you need friends who know when to be serious and when not to be. If you understand what’s important for your future, then make the choices to put yourself into that position. And it all starts with the people who you spend time with.

Start forming relationships with teachers and counselors. 

You’re probably thinking, “Why should I do that?” or “I’m only doing it for the college recommendation letter.” Do not force yourself to do that. Interactions come naturally with people who share similar traits with you. The teachers are people too, and you’d be surprised about what you can learn from them. Plus, they will see through it. Keep it in the back of your mind. Certainly, do not force yourself to interact with each teacher, and you really shouldn’t. There are better things to do than that. Just find a couple who seem to resemble your personality or can hold an interesting conversation with you. Above all, find a teacher who is going to understand and respect you, and treat them the same way.

Manage your time and try to find balance. Plan out your week.

This is the most important one. Without time management and organization, you will be struggling massively. For instance, you will have trouble figuring out when homework is due, when practices start and finish, when meetings start, etc. In a year like this one, you cannot be living moment by moment, remembering things simply in your brain. It’s impossible. You need to think ahead. I would highly recommend getting a planner. Finally, spend a day each week, like Sunday, to plan out what you have each week, so that your brain remembers it. Write it down, as writing is shown to significantly help people remember things. Come up with a method to get a step ahead of your week.


If you follow these tips to the fullest, you will succeed and overcome any tribulations that you may face. You have to think ahead and understand how important this year is. I am not going to lie to you. There is a lot riding on this year. Ut’s a lot to handle. However, it’s one year of your entire life. Close to 1-2% of your life. In conclusion, just take it week by week, day by day, understanding what you need to do and getting it done.

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