5 Things You'll Learn in Junior Year of High School

Junior year is when you officially become an upperclassman—and if you haven’t already, start thinking about post-high school plans. It can be a whirlwind of activities, academic and otherwise, simultaneously enjoying the second half of high school all the while prepping yourself for the future. Here are five things you’ll learn more about in your junior year of high school.

1. College application prep

Junior year is when you’ll hone in on potential colleges. Take some time this year to research potential college websites, and if you have time and the means, visit the campuses themselves. Spring break during your junior year of high school is a great time to visit colleges before you apply so you can find out more about them in person. Additionally, set up an appointment with your guidance counselor to pick his or her brain on the college admissions process. All of this will help you more efficiently gear up for senior year when things get even busier (and possibly faster!).

2. Advanced classes

If you haven’t already taken some honors or AP classes, consider taking advanced classes this year. Ask one of your teachers, a guidance counselor, a family member, or an older friend about what options are available, as well as their own experiences that can give you some insight on a course schedule that would fit your goals. Advanced classes can sometimes transfer as college credit, and at the same time, can prep you in terms of workload and more intensive study habits as you move toward higher education.

3. SAT/ACT prep

Generally, you’ll take the standardized test of your choice sometime in this upcoming time realm. You may have already taken the PSAT, which will give you a sense of what your strengths and areas of improvement are if you plan to take the SAT. After you receive your PSAT scores, take some time to make a study plan for the SAT; you may follow the same strategy using online SAT practice tests and/or ACT practice tests instead. Use the results you find from your practice exams to refine your skills for the real test you plan to take.

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4. Extracurriculars

Extracurriculars are a great way to learn skills that are helpful both in and outside the classroom. If you’d like to deepen your knowledge of an academic topic, look for a club in your subject of interest (think newspaper, math club, or the science fair). If you’d like to do something outside of the traditional academic setting, look into sports, the arts, or goings-on in the community. Extracurriculars can connect you to like-minded friends and possible mentors, who could be great support resources throughout the upcoming college admissions process!

[RELATED: 4 Things You’ll Learn in Sophomore Year of High School]

5. Leadership

As an upperclassman, you’ll sometimes be encouraged to take on new responsibilities—in your extracurriculars for example. You may be given more ownership of tasks in and outside of class. You can also take some initiative yourself to develop leadership skills, by taking on lead roles in clubs or teams, for instance, or by establishing volunteer work in your community. If you’re interested, check out internship opportunities at school or through school connections as well.

There’s much to look forward to in your junior year of high school, as you look forward to senior year, college, and beyond. Don’t forget to take advantage of resources beside you, such as teachers, classmates, and other trusted adults in your life, from whom you can ask advice and whose experiences you can learn from.