Tips for a Great and Productive Junior Year

Tips for a Great and Productive Junior Year

Tuesday, 22 September 2020 13:43

It has been a strange start, to say the least, for many students returning to school in Haywood County. Even those who have returned to campus have experienced unusual circumstances like athletes who are competing without fans in the stands and socially distanced lunchrooms. While this has certainly been a very unusual junior year for your teenager that does not change the fact that they are entering one of the busiest and most important periods of high school. Juniors are scrambling to complete rigorous academic work, take SATs, fill out college applications, and participate in all the extra-curricular activities they can.

Athletes and musicians are being given more responsibility and leadership roles on their teams. Additionally, many juniors are navigating these school related challenges all while they start jobs for the first time. 

We are committed to the success and growth of our juniors. We want to help parents guide their juniors through what they need to do to prepare for college and beyond. 

9 Tips for Having a Great and Productive Junior Year

1) Meet with guidance counselors.

Meeting with your guidance counselors is one of the best patterns you can establish at the beginning of a great and productive junior year. More than anyone, your counselors will be able to help you prepare and establish plans to reach your goals beyond high school. 

2) Work on getting the best GPA possible.

Whether you are intending to pursue community college or a four-year degree, or both, you should pursue the best GPA possible. If your GPA is not where you want it to be, you have time to make significant improvements:

  • Meet with your counselors and administration to determine what GPA is possible
  • Make sure you take the right courses now and during your senior year
  • Meet with your teachers to establish goals
  • Make sure you are keeping tabs on your progress and making adjustments to your plan as needed
  • Keep your head up and stay positive 

In addition to giving yourself the best chance possible at your desired GPA, the habits you develop now will help you establish a great work ethic that will benefit you in college and beyond. 

3) Discuss potential goals beyond high school.

What does your junior want to do beyond high school? We do not mean to overstate the importance of junior year, but everything they do this year can impact their future goals. That is why it is vital to establish goals early. Do they want to attend community college and earn an associate degree or certification? Do they want to attend a four-year college or university?

We have a key partnership with Haywood Community College that enables students to dual enroll during their Junior and Senior years to simultaneously earn high school and college credits. If you are considering private education for your child, HCA would love to talk with you about how this program can help them excel once they reach high school.

4) Take and retake the ACT or SAT.

Hopefully, by now your student has prepared for the ACT or SAT. This is the year to begin taking the test and then retaking it to strive for the best score possible. 

5) Visit schools in which you're interested.

If your teenager intends to attend a four-year university, junior year is a great time to begin visiting those schools. However, some of those institutions may not be quite ready to welcome tours due to the pandemic, so it is important to communicate with each one before packing the car and hitting the road. 

6) Get comfortable using a calendar.

If your junior has gotten to this point in their academic experience without much planning, they probably feel like they can continue that pattern all the way through college. However, with the increased pressure from due dates for college applications and essays, the procrastinator will struggle. Help your junior get comfortable using a calendar. 

7) Fill out FAFSA and scholarship applications.

As soon as possible, have your teen begin filling out FAFSA and other financial aid applications. The sooner you can plan financially, the better. 

8) Find ways to make sure you enjoy the experience.

Junior year is difficult. Juniors are prone to burnout. It is also a season of growth, an opportunity for strengthening friendships, and a time your teen may be making their faith their own. Help your teenager enjoy this year and focus on their relationship with the Lord. Help them make time to relax, spend time with their friends and family, and be reminded that your door and heart are always open.

9) Go on a mission trip.

To graduate from Haywood Christian Academy a student must earn the required number of credits and fulfill 40 hours of community/cultural service - 8 hours of community service and 2 hours of cultural service per high school year. Again, this is an unusual year; however, if it is possible, have your junior plan to go on a mission trip. If an international project is possible, the summer between junior and senior year is a great time. Otherwise, help them plan to use spring or summer break to serve their own community or beyond. 

At Haywood Christian Academy, we help train Christian leaders to serve Haywood County and beyond. We have been blessed to see many of our students go on to succeed in college and have excellent careers. If you would like to know more about our school, contact us today.