What I Wish I Knew…A College-Bound junior’s guide to high school

School classroom curtesy of Creative Commons license.

Creative Commons license

School classroom curtesy of Creative Commons license.

As a junior currently going through the college selection process and preparing for applications next fall, there are many things I wish I knew as a freshman and sophomore that would’ve made this process easier. This guide will help college-bound underclassmen navigate high school.

As a freshman, it’s time to try new things! When I was a freshman, I didn’t try anything new, as I thought that everyone had already advanced at their different sports and clubs in middle school, but I was utterly wrong. My advice: try everything! Freshman year is the time to see what you like, and what you aim to varsity in, and be president of in junior and senior year. Also, practice getting good grades for when you’re an upperclassman, as your GPA is the average of all your years of high school, so even freshman grades really matter for college applications fall of senior year.

– Try new clubs
– Try new sports
– Respect your upperclassmen and teachers
– Try new extracurricular activities outside of school
– Keep up your grades (GPA)

As a sophomore, it’s your time to hone in on all the skills you enjoyed your freshman year and really master them in order to lead them junior and senior year. Grades still matter, so take the advanced classes of what you love. Also, if you want to get ahead I would recommend starting your service hours.

– Take advanced classes
– Job
– Continue sports
– Create a club
– Try new extracurricular activities outside of school
– Respect your upperclassmen and teachers
– Keep up your grades (GPA)

At this point, you should participate in varsity sports, as well as hold leadership roles in clubs and organizations. These grades are the ones that matter most to colleges, and if you’re applying early action (EA) or early decision (ED), your GPA and transcript will solely reflect your freshman, sophomore, and junior grades. This is also the year to start studying for the SATs or ACTs, that way you’re ready to take them in the second half of the year and the summer. The summer between junior and senior year should be spent improving one’s application through volunteering, internships, and work experience, as well as crafting your common app essay and supplementals if you intend to apply EA or ED.

– Varsity sports
– Service hours
– Leadership roles in clubs
– Study for SAT/ACT
– Tour colleges
– Keep up your grades (GPA)

Summer before senior year:
Over the summer you should look for internships that correlate with your interests or desired college major. You should also work on your personal common app essay and finish it to be ready for EA and ED applications in the upcoming fall. This is also the time to take the SAT/ACT until you achieve your best score for applications.

– Write your personal common app essay
– Do an internship that aligns with your interests or desired college major
– Do your activities list for college
– Tour colleges
– Take the SAT/ACT until you get your best score

You’re almost done with school! Hopefully, you’ll have already completed your common app essay over the summer, so you’ll be all ready to apply if you’re considering EA or ED at the start of the school year. Now’s the time to finish up your service hours and graduation requirements, and most importantly enjoy your last year of high school! You made it!

– Write supplementals
– Apply to colleges
– Keep up your grades (GPA)
– Commit to colleges
– Graduate from high school