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10th Graders: Looking Ahead To Junior Year

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Once you finish your sophomore year of high school, you are officially halfway done with high school. Soon, you will be officially be a junior and an upperclassmen!


While there are many perks associated with being an upperclassmen, you may find once you enter 11th grade  everything is about to get very real. Suddenly, you may be struck by the fact that your college application process is not that far away, your classes can possibly get a lot harder, and you’re so close to having to handle all the responsibilities of adulthood. So while there’s a lot to look forward to, there’s also a lot to do.


Your junior year of high school is definitely a big one. For a full description of what you have to look forward to during your junior year along with some strategies for upperclassmen success, read on.



You’re About To Get a Lot Busier

11th grade is a very pivotal turn, both academically and personally. On the one hand, you’re now expected to take advanced classes that are almost at a college level. Teachers expect more, the material is harder, and your teachers expect more out of you. On the other hand, this is an exciting time because you’re almost an adult!


You may be old enough to drive at this point, you may be old enough to get a job, and you will have definitely been around high school long enough to secure a leadership position in many of your extracurriculars. These are all exciting new developments with a lot of responsibility associated with them.


For example, you may old enough to drive and get a job, but that also means that you need to drive yourself to and from work on time and without your parent’s help. With that comes the added responsibility of taking care of your car so that you can get where you need to go.


Thus, during your Junior year, you can expect to feel like you have a lot more to do. Every task you do may take a lot more thought and a lot more time to work through. It may seem frightening at first, but don’t worry. Everyone goes through this, and you’ll get the hang of it soon.



You Have a Lot of Standardized Tests Coming Your Way

Once you become an upperclassman, you will probably have access to almost all of the AP or IB courses that are offered at your school. While that’s great for your education, it means that you’re going to be taking a lot of exams during the spring of your Junior Year in order to secure college credit for each of those advanced courses.


In addition, 11th grade r is the best time to take the PSAT, PLAN, SAT, and ACT tests. Sometimes, students will take the PSAT/PLAN test during the first semester of their junior year and then take the SAT/ACT just a few months afterwards. That’s a lot of standardized testing and consequently, a lot of studying in your future.


All of this impending testing is not nearly as scary as you might think though. You won’t have to do any real AP studying until midway through the second semester of your junior year, so you won’t have to worry about it for a while. As for the SAT/ACT/PSAT/PLAN, as long as you plan ahead and carve out time to study for these tests well ahead of time, you should be fine.



You’re Going to Need to Make Some Decisions About College

Once you enter your Junior year, you are officially one year or less away from applying to college. That means it’s time for you to start thinking about all the college admissions logistics–what colleges you’re going to be applying to, what you may want to major in, and whether you have the best academic and extracurricular profile possible to get into the colleges of your choice.


So as you prepare for 11th grade you may want to start doing some introspection about where you want to spend four years of your life and what you will want to study while you’re in college. You can also start planning some fun college trips during the summer and the school year in order to explore different college campuses and see where you would best fit in.

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Junior Year Action Items

We’ve established that j11th grade is going to be an exciting and busy year, but what should you do to make sure it’s a successful one? Here is a handy checklist of all of the things that you should be doing during your junior year of high school to set yourself up for high school and college admissions success:



Stay Focused on Academics

In terms of grades, your junior year is the year that colleges weigh most heavily. You want to make sure you do your best in your classes this year so that you maintain a high GPA, high class rank, and show an upward grade trend.



Try To Make An Impact In Your Extracurriculars

This can take the form of planning an event, fundraiser, or even doing something meaningful to the internal structure of the organization to make it work better.



Take the PSAT/PLAN Test

This is heavily dependent on when your school or district offers the test. Many schools in the US, however, offer it to students during the fall semester of their junior year.



Take the SAT or ACT (or both) During Your Second Semester

You don’t have to wait until your second semester of junior year to take the SAT or ACT, but you may find that you will have covered more of the testable concepts in your classes the longer you wait.



Begin Building a Semi-Concrete College List

You do not, by any means, have to finalize your college list just yet. At this point, start jotting down potential colleges that you might be interested in and plan a few campus visits if you can.



Start Exploring Different Colleges

Visiting a campus and taking an admissions tour is a fantastic way to figure out whether a certain college is a good fit, what kind of college atmosphere you are looking for, and to show interest in a college.


Plan to Do Something Impressive During Your Junior Year Summer

This can be an internship, starting your own business, publishing a book, working at a lab, or anything that will put a gold star on your college resume.


For More Information

Want to be even more prepared for your junior year of high school? Check out theseCollegeVine posts:


Starting 11th Grade: 8 Things You Need to Do To Own Your Junior Year

College Application Tips For Juniors: Where To Start

Your Guide To Junior Year Course Selection

Successful High School Students Do These 10 Things


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Sadhvi Mathur
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Sadhvi is a recent graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, where she double majored in Economics and Media Studies. Having applied to over 8 universities, each with different application platforms and requirements, she is eager to share her knowledge now that her application process is over. Other than writing, Sadhvi's interests include dancing, playing the piano, and trying not to burn her apartment down when she cooks!