FYI, the most important year of high school is your junior year.

Junior year is a really important year. This is the year when every class you take, and every move you make, affects your academic career. Your junior year is when you can change your habits in school, stretch beyond your comfort zone and make big things happen. At this time in your life, you should define clear goals for what you plan to do after high school. Then, make the necessary tweaks and changes along the way to achieve those goals.

3 things for students:

Up until this point you’ve probably been strolling along in your life, passively trying to figure things out as you go.  Your parents help you with a lot; maybe your mom still does your laundry. But things are about to change and you need to be ready. Here are some ways you can start becoming an active participant in how your future plays out after high school.

1. Make an appointment to see your school counselor. If you wait for your counselor to call you down, you'll be waiting a long time. She's super busy. Take control of your own destiny, and schedule an appointment to go over your goals. Before the appointment, make a list of all the questions you need answers to and bring the list to your meeting so you don't forget anything. You'll want to ask:

  • What is my GPA?
  • Do I have the right number of credits to graduate? What about enough credits for college?
  • Should I be taking better electives? Perhaps an extra math class or science class?
  • What are my next steps?

2. Start a list of potential colleges and their programs of study. BE REALISTIC. Too many dreams are shattered when students have ridiculous expectations for themselves and others. Before you declare a school your dream school, research the following:

  • How much does it cost? Yup, this is the most important. Have a conversation with your parents as to what the family can afford. Then, plan accordingly.
  • Can I get in? Look at the admission requirements. If you are a low B or C student, you’re not going to Harvard. And you don’t really want to go to Harvard anyway. Get real on what is sensible, what you can achieve, and what you really want. 
  • What programs do they offer? There is no sense in spending time and money to apply to a school that does't offer what you want to study. Research!

Don't be afraid to stretch. If you have a goal or a school that’s just a little bit beyond our comfort zone, put it down as a goal. But have other schools ready as back-up. 

3. Stay organized. Start digital files or paper files on everything:

  • Grades/transcripts.
  • Research on colleges.
  • Admission criteria for colleges.
  • Documents needed such as letters of recommendation, resumes, essays, etc.
  • Volunteer hours.

3 things for Parents:

Up until now you’ve probably been doing a lot for your student. Junior year is when parents really need to let students take control of their future.  This is scary, but you can do it.  

1. Start to relinquish control slowly. Help with organization and ask questions. Make suggestions and guide. Insist your student do the his or her own research on schools. Insist your student set his or her own appointments with school counselors, ACT/SAT tutors and college admissions specialists. Insist that your student take the lead on this process.   

2. Find someone who can help. There are plenty of programs and consultants there to help you and your student through this process:

  • ACT/SAT tutors and online programs.
  • Postsecondary planning programs.
  • Other parents who have been through it.

3. Let go. Don’t try to control every move of this undertaking. Being a control freak during this process will make you crazy and completely ineffective. Help; don't push.

The postsecondary process is overwhelming and time consuming. We've created a Checklist to make the process easier. Make small incremental steps towards your goals, and you'll enjoy the journey.  

And for more info on our college prep programs like our rising junior and senior math workshops, college application workshops, ACT/SAT prep and more, email You can also click the link below to learn more.

Kathleen JasperComment