Road Map for January: Juniors

I hope you had a great break in what I know is a busy year. Most students are trying to fit college visits, standardized testing and test prep into schedules already packed with schoolwork and extracurricular activities. Planning ahead and looking at the big picture can make the coming months more manageable.  For example, if you know you’ll be busy in the spring with sports and AP exams, you might want to focus now on test prep for a February or April ACT or a March SAT. If you know you have six colleges you’d like to see, plan to visit two or three of them during spring break and look at other dates you could also use for tours, such as professional development days or conference days when you don’t have school. If you don’t have a campus visit list yet, block out the dates you could travel and then start doing research to figure out where you might want to go.

Juniors are also starting to choose their senior year courses. Colleges want to see rigor, so my rule of thumb is to take the most challenging classes you can do well in without being overwhelmed. That means considering each class individually as well as the whole course load. You might do great in advanced level English, math, science, history and language classes, but will you be able to do well in all of them at once? Consider your other commitments, and remember you also need time for meals, sleep, exercise and spending time with the people in your life. (Not to mention applying to college!)