How to Get through Junior Year


Rayner Reinhardt, Staff


As the third quarter closes in on my junior year of high school, there are a couple notable things that I’ve experienced. The daunting junior year that everyone talks about is just that—extra pressure for college, higher expectations in class, as well as balancing a good academic schedule and a healthy social life. 

Junior year, you always hear, is the toughest of them all. Colleges look at your final grades, your achievements in and out of class, and your SAT scores—all accomplished in a mere nine months.  

For those underclassmen who will be taking their junior-journey soon, or for any concerned parents, I want to offer up some advice: my top 10 tips for surviving (and thriving in) junior year.  


  1. Take the most challenging classes that you can. Don’t overload on classes you don’t think you can manage, but showing yourself and your future college admissions board that you’re up for a challenge is always good. You want your junior year to be a good one, full of learning. It’s never good to stress yourself out too much though, so don’t take every AP possible unless you’re confident that’s what you want to do. But, harder classes keep you motivated and enriched throughout the year. 
  1. Join new clubs. That goes to say, don’t join every single club you can; that’ll just add to the stress. But, joining new clubs, or even sticking with the ones that you’re already involved in, is helpful. You can meet new people, add things to your applications, have something at school to look forward to, or foster a passion that you have.   
  1. It’s okay to drop some things. If you’re feelings overwhelmed with classes and other activities, it’s okay to take some things out of your schedule. Maybe you play a sport that you just don’t love anymore, or a club that takes too much time. If you want to drop these things so you have more time for other commitments, that’s perfectly okay. In fact, it’s better to have quality over quantity in the things you do.  
  1. Prep for the SAT. Some people say it’s impossible to study for the SAT, but it never hurts to prep. Looking over SAT style questions, or attending the school’s SAT workshop will help you get ready to ace the SAT.  Your SAT scores, while not completely reflective of your achievements, are still important to colleges when looking for the best applicants.  
  1. Think ahead. Always think about what you should be doing or what you want to be doing. There’s no point in taking a class or participating in a club if you’re not going to benefit from it or enjoy it. Think about what an honor society could do for you, and make sure it’s not nothing! 
  1. Don’t forget your social life. Even though academics and school are important, it’s not healthy to only be worried about stress and grades. Having a good time with friends or taking a night off to go to the mall can be beneficial, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the rest of your schedule. But, having a good time socially can get your mind off things, and still allow for you to be a “normal” teenager.  
  1. Don’t fall behind on homework. It’s okay to miss a couple of homeworks, but keeping track of what you have to do in an agenda and staying on top will only help you. Homework will boost your grades and help you master the topics in class. It’s a lot, but it’s always worth it in the end.  
  1. Start looking at colleges. Get an idea of what you may want to do after high school, and if it’s college, start researching which ones you may be interested in. Think about location, size, even tuition. You don’t have to know exactly what you want, but you will have to apply relatively soon! 
  1. Get into a good sleep schedule. Sleep is so important for a teenager, and sometimes it’s the only way to catch a break. A good night’s sleep can feel refreshing for each school day, and without it, school is even less enjoyable than usual. There may be nights when you have to stay up doing homework but try to minimize time on your phone or TV so you can go to sleep around the same time every night. You’d be surprised how good a routine is for your body! 
  1. Get a CollegeBoard account! The CollegeBoard is a great resource for finding things out about colleges, SAT testing, and AP tests. It will keep you updated about upcoming events or tests, and even give you free preparation for the SATS through Khan Academy. It’s a tool that every junior needs.