It is a new year. This is a moment for all of us to look at where we are and where we want to be.
For all those high school juniors, this moment is made for you. Are you satisfied or do you want to make some adjustments before the college admissions process starts in earnest? If it is the latter, there is no better time than now.
1. Finish up the year strong.Every year of high school is important, but junior year is such a big influencer in the admissions process. That is because it is the year when most students take more challenging classes and it will be the most recent full-year performance before applying to college. If you have a chance to move that C to a B or that B to an A, do it. You won't regret that.
2. Adjust your behavior in classes, in the halls, or in the activities you do.
If you tend to dominate class discussions, listen more. If you are viewed as quiet or reserved, put yourself out there. Not only will your classmates notice, your teachers will too. In a few months, you will need to ask those same teachers for letters of recommendation.
3. Evaluate how you spend your free time and whether you are taking advantage of opportunities outside of your schoolwork.If you are light on extracurricular activities, this is a chance to commit to something substantial. The application process rewards students who have longstanding commitments. An activity is measured by how many grades (9th, 10th, 11th, and/or 12th), how many weeks per year, and how many hours per week the student devotes to it.
4. Make an undeniable impact in an activity in the coming months.
While traditional leadership roles are still valued by admissions officers, impact can be just as powerful. Be the one to organize, inspire, and lead in your activities, with or without a leadership title.
5. Consider your (not your parents' or others') academic passion and go after it.Students with "evidence" to back up their major choice in the application are far more successful in the admissions process. Evidence can be shown by taking the most challenging classes in the subject matter that matches up with the major choice, excelling at that subject, and pursuing activities during the school year, summer, or both that support what you want to pursue in college.
FREE DOWNLOAD: The Junior Guide
Juniors, this is your time to commit, recommit, or simply pivot. There is still time to make adjustments that will allow you to shine when you apply to college. It can feel like so much of this process is out of a student's control, but knowing what you can do right now is empowering. Hitting the reset button can be a seismic shift for your future. Let's do this!