What Should Juniors Be Doing?
Junior year can be a stressful time for students, as there is so much uncertainty about senior year and beyond. Counselors and others in support roles regularly talk to students about college decision-making, future career plans, and what they need to do now to prepare for those next steps. We encourage our mentors to engage in those conversations. Still, juniors can be left feeling overwhelmed by all of the big decisions that remain.
One recommendation is to help students take small steps in that larger process. Juniors may begin by planning out their senior classes. How rigorous of a course schedule should they take as they near graduation? Should they take College Credit Plus classes? Should they take something related to their prospective career field? All of these are questions that students must consider, and, with guidance from their counselor, family, and mentor, the student can develop a plan for next year.
Another step is to begin preparing for those tasks that are going to be part of the college admissions process. The ACT is offered in spring, and students should begin studying for that test if they have not. Along with the ACT, students can approach teachers about writing a letter of recommendation for their college applications. They can also start formulating ideas for potential essay topics, as a college essay will be required for college admission and scholarship applications. In addition, summer is a vital time to engage in something that will look good on a college application, whether it be employment, a camp, volunteering, or some other activity. Some of this is a ways off, but at this point, it is not too early to begin putting these pieces in place.
Last but not least, what a student hopes to gain from his or her college experience should come into sharper focus. Juniors may further consider their eventual major or career interest. They should also be investigating colleges and universities in terms of what they have to offer. This includes making visits to those institutions during the school year or over the summer. Some factors to consider when choosing a college or university are program offerings, location, cost, size, campus culture, and co-curricular opportunities, to name a few. After doing some research, students should have better understanding of their options when they begin submitting applications in the fall or early spring.
To help with this conversation, Montgomery County Ohio College Promise is holding a College Scholar Night at Sinclair Community College on Thursday February 27 from 5:30-8:00 PM. Juniors are strongly encouraged to attend, as they will get a chance to interact with our partner colleges and universities and take that first step in determining their postsecondary plans.