The High School Junior Hub
Our comprehensive gameplan for high school juniors
Your blueprint to a no-fear junior year.
Hey there, upperclassman. Let's chart your course for a happy, healthy, successful academic year.
You hear it over and over again: “Junior year is the most important year for your college applications!”
On the one hand, we think this kind of mindset can put totally unnecessary pressure on juniors. High school is a marathon, and you have to run the whole time — you can’t snooze through any year! But it is also true that junior year is the last complete year of grades for colleges to look at as they consider admission. So how can you strategize to make sure you can bust out your best “sprint” in your junior year?
The Junior Hub is here to help. Below, we’ve collect resources to help you craft a strategic plan for your junior year — pertaining to everything from test prep to college visits to AP exams to demonstrated interest. Ready to level up with us? Keep scrolling.
Back-to-school reminders for juniors
Between beginning to consider colleges, starting preparation for the ACT or SAT, and diving into a rigorous course load, there’s plenty to juggle in the fall of junior year. Our advice? Focus on what you can control. Here’s our playbook for how to start off on the right track.
Take time for you
- Prioritize your mental health and wellbeing. Give yourself permission to do the things you need to do to decompress, connect with loved ones, and just be.
- Remember, your physical health is an essential part of your wellbeing, too, so aim to get moving, either at home or in safe, outdoor spaces. It’s a well-known fact that exercise can decrease stress and anxiety, and even help you sleep better. Plus, it can improve your mood, leaving you feeling capable of tackling whatever lies ahead.
Prep for success
- Take time and plan ahead for the year. Decide how you will organize your time in and out of school. Will you have a daily schedule or be driven by working your way through a to-do list?
- Set up your physical work space for homework ahead of time. In addition to organizers for your papers, pens, and other school supplies, think about timers to keep you on track as you learn and calendars so that you can manage upcoming tasks. Perform basic computer maintenance so your digital assets will be ready to work when you are.
- Get started on ACT or SAT prep. Though it’s clear that many colleges are committed to test optional policies into the future, there is not universal clarity, and some schools and programs require scores. We want to ensure all students keep their options open! Start with an ACT and SAT diagnostic test to determine which test will be your best fit.
Cultivate great habits
Before you’re in the thick of a million classes and extracurriculars, take some time at the beginning of junior year to think about nurturing a healthy mindset and unlocking motivation. Here are some free resources to help.
- Control the Controllables | How to ease anxiety and supercharge academic success by focusing on what you can control
- Make a Personal Time Budget | How to create an intentional schedule to help prevent burn-out
- 4 Life Habits for Stronger Academic Performance | Maximize the impact of your hard work in school by cultivating life habits that nurture your brain
Look to the future
- Find ways to take ownership of your responsibilities. Get in the habit of signing yourself up for standardized tests and initiating college research and virtual visits. Soon enough, you’ll be on your own and glad you got some practice taking responsibility.
- Keep an eye out for news about the PSAT this fall. You should consider taking the PSAT even if you think you’ll eventually take the ACT and not the SAT. The PSAT is part of the criteria to become a National Merit Scholar.
- If you are eager to begin the college search, take advantage of the myriad opportunities for online engagement with colleges and universities. Doing virtual info sessions and tours can be a great first step to help you plan meaningful college visits.
Test Prep Resources
The SAT, the digital SAT, the ACT, the digital ACT, AP exams...it's enough to make your head spin. Check out the free resources below to get some clarity on your test prep journey — no matter where you find yourself in the process.Schedule a free consultation with our test prep team
3 Reasons for Juniors to Start Test Prep Now
Now is the right time to get started with test prep. (Yes, now now.)Read more
How to Get Started with Test Prep
Advice on how to get the most out of the test prep processRead more
The 2023-2024 Testing Landscape
Real-time updates from our experts on what's happening in the world of standardized testingRead more
5 Factors to Consider When Deciding Between the ACT and SAT
Find the test that lets you put your best foot forwardFind more
The Test-Optional Almanac
Your complete guide to all things test-optional, test-blind, and test-freeRead more
3 Reasons to Stick with the ACT This Year
Amidst the swirling uncertainty around the digital SAT, the ACT can offer stability for savvy studentsRead more
The Digital SAT Hub
Everything you need to know about the upcoming digital SATRead more
Digital SAT Roadmap
Strategic testing timelines for rising juniors to minimize mid-year disruption of your test prep processRead more
Say Hello to the Digital ACT
In the wake of a successful digital SAT roll-out, the ACT will also begin offering a digital exam. Here's what you need to know.Read more
College Admissions Resources
Real talk: what should you ACTUALLY be doing in junior year to set yourself up for next year's college applications crunch time? No more guesswork. Our experts offer their advice below.Schedule a free consultation with our college admissions team
Top 8 Tasks for College-Bound Juniors
Your college admissions checklist for junior yearRead more
5 Things I Wish I'd Known When Applying To College
There's a lot of misleading college application tips out there. Here's what our graduating seniors wish they knew earlier.Read more
What is Demonstrated Interest?
Start showing colleges love this year, and boost your chances of admissionRead more
The Best College Visit Questions
Got college visits coming up this year? Here's how to make the most of them.Read more
How to Volunteer Virtually
No time to volunteer with your busy junior year schedule? No sweat.Read more