If you’ve been following this blog the past few weeks, you may have noticed that we’ve been giving out advice to the different classes. Now we are ready to speak to the juniors and set them up for success for the last two years of their high school career.

You’ve probably heard it before from parents, counselors, teachers, grandparents, your dog’s vet, the barista, and see it plastered all over the Internet: YOUR JUNIOR YEAR IS IMPORTANT. Scary thing? They’re right, junior year is important, but why? Well, for many colleges and universities, it may be the last set of grades they see before they decide on your application. This is the last year of activities that will show up in those college applications. The teachers you have now will most likely be the ones who write your letters of recommendation. Sounds like a lot of pressure, right?

Hopefully, you have been building up for this, and you’re ready. Does this mean you have to be perfect junior year? No. Should you take 12 AP courses? Of course not. You should challenge yourself, try a harder course or two if you are ready, but don’t overwhelm yourself. By now you should have found one or two extracurricular activities to become involved with, so keep it up. Maybe the time is right to find a little leadership in those organizations. This summer might be a good time to get a part-time job or find an internship. As always though, make sure you breathe and take time with family and friends. We love a good list, so here’s a list of things for our juniors to keep in mind this year:

  • It is busy, so be prepared. Make sure you have your time management ready to go. Find a good way to keep on task.
  • Challenge yourself a bit more, but be careful not to overwhelm yourself.
  • Ask for help. Find your teachers, your counselor, your mentor and talk to them often.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute.
  • Plan for the SAT or ACT in the spring.
  • Start thinking about college, but more about the “type” of school rather than specific names.
  • Find an academic interest or two. How can you turn that into a major or a career later on? Give yourself some options.
  • Take the time to get to know yourself. It sounds cheesy, but the better understanding of “self” you have, the better you can represent that self.
  • Relax a bit. You’ve got some time, and Fairmont has the resources to help you.
  • Don’t freak out about that less-than-perfect grade. You will be okay.
  • Talk to your parents often. Tell them what is going on. Let them know how things are going. But also give them an idea of what you want to do in the future. Don’t leave it up to them to shape your future.
  • Learn about the incredibly wide amount of college options out there, and look beyond the same 15 schools you hear about all the time.

Good luck this year, juniors!