4 Keywords that Should Define Your Summer before Junior Year

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4 Keywords that Should Define Your Summer before Junior Year

I’m sure you’ve heard it before. Be it from well-intended parents, counselors, or teachers, many argue: Junior year is the most important year of high school.

Despite changing trends in college admissions, this sentiment still holds weight. During junior year, you will probably undertake your most rigorous course load to date.

While it’s become increasingly more common for students to take advanced courses and AP classes during sophomore and even freshman years, junior year still tends to bear the brunt of the heavy academic lifting.

Colleges are interested in how you will handle junior year, as they see it as a good sign of how you will handle the rigor of college courses.

Junior year is also the final full year that colleges will see on your transcript before you start applying during the fall of your senior year. So you certainly want to end on a strong academic note AND demonstrate an upward trend.

Now that we’ve talked enough about how important junior year is, we can get to the core. Here are four KEYWORDS you can take away from this article to make the most of the summer before junior year.

1. Initiative

In a sea of often over-qualified applicants, taking initiative is still the cream that rises to the top. So many students are happy to follow someone else’s directions and carry out tasks.

Having the creativity to generate new ideas and, more importantly, follow through on them are qualities that will make you stand out.

Use this summer to demonstrate that you aren’t afraid to take on new challenges and put in the legwork required to carry your ideas out.

The great thing about this is that the sky truly is the limit. Take a cause, interest, or problem that genuinely resonates with you and run with it!

To get ideas for initiatives, you can use your connections on Admit.me to find people with similar interests and goals. Fill out a free profile and start looking for your allies!

The sky's the limit.

2. Preparation

Given that junior year can be academically stressful and even overwhelming, use the summer to get a jump on material that may be especially challenging.

Consider taking a course or getting a tutor to get you in shape to handle the work, so that once the school year begins it won’t be the first time you are seeing the material.

This may also be an ideal time to take an SAT/ACT prep course, especially if you know it will be difficult to fit one in during the school year. By starting early, you can have the luxury to study at your pace and time the course so that it will benefit you the most. Look into courses offered at your high schol or through a local community college, or find a private tutor.

If taking a course or getting a tutor is not an option for you, there are other ways to find great resources! Go online and look for study materials, many of which are free, like Magoosh. Another option is to go to a local library and take advantage of their offline and online resources.

Preparing for junior year doesn’t have to be fancy. It could also be as simple as getting a copy of the reading list so that you can get a jump on the required reading.

Preparation doesn't have to be fancy. Read a book. Or two.

3. Exploration

The summer is the time to see the world…of college campuses. Ideally, you will get to visit colleges when classes are in full swing and students abound. However, the reality is that the school year is often bursting at the seams with academic and extracurricular activities.

Use the extra time this summer to get out there and explore your options. At the very least, you can begin eliminating schools from your list – which can save you a lot of time!

Think of this like a search for a new favorite book, and a college visit is like scanning the cover of each book. Reading the covers won’t give you the whole story, but it can provide enough for you to determine whether you want to keep reading.

Related: 5 Tips to make most out of your next college visit

Let's exploooo....r...e.

4. Rejuvenation

Give yourself a break. Knowing the workload and importance associated with junior year, this summer should also be a time for rest and rejuvenation. Connect with friends, go on vacation with your family, sleep in, go for a hike or catch a movie…these are all luxuries that may be difficult to get in regularly during the course of the school year. 

The reality is that entering junior year from a stressful summer will not better position you for success, but the opposite may do wonders.

I need a nap, like now.
Oh, and last thing, don’t forget to have a blast!


Savena Allen

Savena Wright

Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Admit.me
Savena has her MS in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and served as a high school guidance counselor prior to her role at Admit Advantage and Admit.me.

Get more admissions help at admit.me

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