For many students, junior year of high school is also the most difficult year. Students must prepare for their upcoming ACT or SAT test dates, evaluate potential colleges, and function beneath an immense amount of pressure to achieve high grades to impress these colleges.
In addition to this academic stress, students must also begin asking themselves important questions about their ideal college experience in order to find schools that are a great fit. Much of this process is new and unfamiliar to students and there are some specific actions that high school juniors can take to navigate it successfully.
Three college students who have been through this process shared insights from their own junior year experiences, and here are their tips:
1. Sign up for AP or specialized classes: Your freshman and sophomore years of high school are typically filled with general education courses and other mainstream subjects that students are required to study–but what about classes that go beyond that? Junior year is a perfect time for students to delve into electives and other specialized courses. It can even help students prepare for college in a number of ways.
Sarah Turecamo, a junior at Washington University in St. Louis majoring in biology and anthropology, suggested this route for students.
“It would be helpful to take some specialized classes, such as AP classes or upper-level electives, to explore what you would like to major in,” she says. “Of course, you don’t have to know exactly what you want to study in college, but it would be helpful to explore a few options before entering college.”
Turecamo feels this action benefited her, but she also wishes she had pursued it even further.
“I did take AP Chemistry, which helped to explore my interest in the sciences,” she says. “However, I regret not taking a computer science or engineering elective because I never really got to see if I was interested in pursuing an engineering career path.”
Read more at U.S. News.