A Letter to Juniors

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Happy Thursday! I'm back with another edition of my tips for high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors (check out the posts for freshmen and for sophomores) as I'm sharing my tips for juniors today!

Junior year is definitely a roller coaster as it's full of amazing ups and not-so-amazing downs. For me, junior year brought a lot of unexpected change and definitely allowed me to become a better student. I put together my best tips for all of y'all juniors so helpfully it makes this big year a bit easier!

Make sure to sleep. Sometimes during junior year, it will seem like you have to much to do not enough time to do it. But don't sacrifice your sleep! If it comes down to studying an extra 30 minutes when I have the gist of the material or sleeping, you can guess what I'll choose. Plus, sleep helps you retain what you learn so definitely don't slack off on sleep!

Start touring colleges in the fall. If you are like me, you probably have a decent size list of schools you're interested by junior year. The best way to better "know" these colleges is to go tour. I talked about this in my post of tips for the early part of the college admissions process (which you should definitely check out) but touring a school has allowed me to see that I actually love a school I thought I wouldn't or didn't really like a school that I thought I would. Get a head start and go tour some schools in the fall so you don't feel like you have to cram all of your visits in during summer. Also, if you tour during the fall, classes will be in sessions and you can have a better feel of what campus life is like at that school.

Meet with your college counselor. I am so fortunate to have an amazing college counselor at my school to help me with everything college related as it has made the process that much smoother. Be sure to start meeting with your counselor fairly frequently as they are a great resource in the college process.

Coffee, coffee, coffee. Honestly, I wasn't much of a regular coffee drinker until junior year. Sure I would have an occasional iced coffee or a latte at Starbucks but I wasn't a bring your mug full of coffee to school girl. Well, junior year definitely changed that and I don't think I could survive in the morning without (I had Pre Calc first period too last year so I definitely needed the caffeine).

Use an agenda. Y'all have heard me blab about my agenda countless times here at Chic in Carolina (I'm planning on showing y'all how I organize mine soon but check out how I organized my agenda last year for now!) but I definitely rely on mine way more than you think I would. Junior year is definitely busy and agendas are perfect for keeping track of all of your tests, quizzes, due dates, meetings, college tours, and outings with friends (and more!).

Things aren't always going to be the same way. This was a big struggle for me last year. Junior year brings a lot of change (which I share a bit more about in this reflection post). First semester, my classes were so different as I was taking harder classes so the workload was a lot bigger for me. Then second semester, I went through some stuff with friends that definitely made me realize that things aren't always going to be the same way. Not saying this to scare y'all but it's definitely worth knowing this going into the year.

Take the SAT and ACT seriously. Junior year is the most common time to take these standardized tests and you'll probably hear your friends and classmates talk about them a billion times before the year is over. These tests are a part of the admissions process for college so be sure to put your full effort into them and prepare for them by getting a tutor, asking for extra help at school, or doing some online studying (I know Kahn Academy partnered with College Board for the SAT).

Stay organized. I am a tad bit organization obsessed but staying organized is one of the best things you can do for yourself junior year. Having everything organized makes it easier for you to find things meaning less stress, which is always welcome!

Balance is key. Though school will keep you super busy, it's also important to have a life. Having things that aren't school related after school is a great way to stay sane. Schedule lunches with friends (on the weekends), have a job, get a volunteer position, etc. Also, during the school year, I always give myself one full day of the weekend to do whatever I want (if it's hanging out with friends or just hanging out at home relaxing) and not to stress about schoolwork. This definitely helps me to stay balanced as well and to give a me a bit of a break after a busy week.

"Me time" is key to sanity. You'll get super busy junior year but it's important to still take care of yourself. Go for a run, use a pretty bath bomb, go to a barre class, paint your nails, indulge in an episode of your favorite show on Netflix, use a face mask, whatever you love! Having me time is such a good stress reliever and gives you a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle of school!

Continue to be involved and work up to leadership roles. Notice a theme in these posts? Involvement is a super important part of high school and I think it's great to continue to stay involved in organizations every year. Junior year is a great time to adopt leadership roles in these organizations as well. Even if you don't become the President of your Student Council, becoming a leader in your school is never a bad thing and is good for your college applications (but don't be a leader in an organization for that reason alone).

Challenge yourself in classes but know when to ask for help. I have always been advised by my college counselor to gradually increase the rigor of your classes each year so by junior year, your classes will definitely be harder than the ones you took freshman year for instance. My junior year, I personally challenged myself by taking Honors Pre Calc and Honors Biology, which have always been harder classes for me as I'm not really a math/science girl. However, taking harder classes doesn't mean you're completely on your own to getting everything done! If you have questions about the test you got back/why you got the grade that you did, go see your teacher during a free period or during lunch. If you need a little help on your essay, email a friend and see if she'll (or he'll) edit it for you and maybe offer to edit her's/his in return. This will make your life so much easier, trust me!

Are you a junior this year? What tips do you have for juniors in high school? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Gosh I wish I had had this years ago! Great ideas!

  2. Junior year was the toughest for me! But definitely agree with staying organized and asking for help :)

    Cristina /

    1. It was definitely a hard one. Thanks for reading, Cristina!

  3. Love this post!! Can I go back to college now? Such great, really detailed advice xx

  4. Junior year was probably my hardest year of high school! I feel so old now reading this since I'm going to be a senior in college, how did that happen?!?


    1. It was probably mine too haha! Thanks for reading, Sami!

  5. Another important thing is to start researching and understanding student loans! I didn't think about college anything until the end of senior year. Always good to start early!

    Greta |

  6. Great tips! Meeting with your counselor sooner than later is always a good idea! things change so fast and those appointments are hard to get!

    - Rachel |

  7. God you could not PAY me to go back to junior year haha... So stressful! I love your reminder that it's not going to stay that way forever though. Definitely important to keep in mind!

  8. Junior year was my absolute worst year. Another tip: follow your path, don't take classes because everyone else is.

  9. Junior year was possibly my hardest year of high school, but it was also my best year academically! And actually it was the same for college (thus far...I still have one year left). These are all excellent tips - for high schoolers and even for college students! Thanks for sharing your insight!

    Stephanie |

  10. I've only been a junior for about two weeks, but I already can agree with these tips so much! The amount of events and tests I have to remember has increased drastically, and I've had to become pretty resourceful about my studying. I'll need to take your advice about keeping sleep as a top priority--AP US History and fatigue don't really mix in the morning! Thanks for a great post!

    Tori A. from Prep For A Day

    1. So glad you liked it! Feel free to email me if you need any more advice or anything Tori, I would be more than happy to help! Good luck this year!

  11. I love these tips! Even though I'm no longer in high school, I can attest that these tips will come in handy in your college years as well!

    Kayla |

  12. Awesome tips! Some of these tips like sleep, organization & balance can be used even past college years too. They are so important!

  13. I love that you did grade specific guides. Junior year was my favorite year of high school, probably because it was so busy! Great advice! xx Merisa | Monogrammed Magnolias

  14. I so could have used this in college-- although many of these tips are still relevant today in the working world!


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