This past winter, the College Counseling Office began counseling sophomores for the first time. Most conversations I had with sophomores indicated they were happy they could start thinking about the college process early, but many weren’t able to make connections between what they were doing inside and out of school and how that could affect their college applications. Much of what we did in the spring was helping them reflect on what and how they’ve done and how they want to move forward. The start of junior year represents the starting line for the college-bound marathon: this is the year college admissions officers will scrutinize the most. They’ll do so because college apps may be submitted as early as the first two months of senior year, and applicants may not yet have been able to accomplish much that year. Thus, many admissions offices will focus on areas such as these from junior year:
- Final full-year grades. Clearly your performance in more recent, more challenging courses junior year is more interesting to an admissions officer than how you did as a freshman, but also remember that you will only submit fall term (or maybe 1st Indicator) grades senior year. (That’s not a lot of work.) Colleges like to see how well you completed your junior academic year, and will try to compare your performance to those of your peers.
- Legitimate extracurricular involvement. Now’s the time to become more deeply involved in activities that interest you. Superficial involvement is easy to spot, but earning a role as a leader in your activity, club, or organization for senior year starts with becoming a heavily engaged and involved member junior year.
- Winter and spring activities and events. By the winter of senior year, your applications will have been submitted so the winter and spring of junior year are the last times you can showcase an activity or event that only happens during that term (think winter/spring sports, spring musical, etc.).
So, incoming juniors, start the year strong but know that you need to maintain your pace throughout the entire year. If you need help, just reach out to your counselor.