junior year

When Should I Start Touring Colleges?

We get this question a lot, and it’s an important one to ask because oftentimes students come to us the summer before their senior year not having visited one school. To be frank, that is kind of an *almost* worst-case scenario. By that time you should have your school list nearly together and have begun working on your Common App personal statement. For that reason, we encourage our students to begin touring colleges the spring of their sophomore year. But the best time would be to plan a trip during the summer between your sophomore and junior year.

Tips for Junior Year of High School

Junior year is a lot. There’s no way to sugar-coat it. However, there are myriad ways to make all of the ancillary college process items more manageable. So, before you dive-in head first, it’s really important to get organized, create a strategy, and stay on track. That way, when things feel chaotic, you have a plan to refer back to. In this post, we talk about ways in which you can forge a clear path for junior year.

What Classes Should I take as a Junior in High School?

When it comes to picking classes for junior year (and all years, really) it’s important to keep in mind that you’re positioning yourself to apply to college. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for an admissions counselor to discern what you want to major in and what your academic interests are. You’re painting a picture of who you are, and your class list is one of the ways to showcase your talents and interests.

Junior Year of High School: College Prep

When you hear the words “junior year” what do you think of? SATs? College tours? Applications? AP exams? 11th grade is often billed as THE “college year,” but any 9th or 10th grader knows that it’s not like students spend the other years twiddling their thumbs. This is a misconception. Consider that every year of high school is a “college year.” In this post, we talk about what you need to be focused on your junior year. Spoiler alert: it is extracurriculars.

Junior Year of High School: College Planning

A lot of people think that junior year is the time to start getting serious about college plans, but that’s not quite true. While waiting until junior year to start college prep is common, you should really start during freshman year. But most people don’t. Lucky for you, we’ve created a junior year of high school college planning to do list so you can get organized.  

Junior Year of High School College Checklist: Month to Month

If you want to go to a top tiered school, junior year is the time to get serious. There’s a list of concrete things you absolutely must do (no matter where you want to go), but we understand how stressful it can be when you aren’t sure when to do what. We thought it would be helpful to give you a month to month checklist, similar to the schedule we provide for TKG students.

A Guide for Juniors Who Don’t Have Summer Plans Yet   

While all of the kids we work with have summer plans by now, we understand that there are some high schoolers out there who haven’t firmed anything up just yet. We know the year has been really busy, but planning something productive for your free time is crucial to the college acceptance process. This process is not new, so while this may sound a little harsh, we’re wondering what you’ve been doing for the past several months. In this post, we’ll talk to you about how you should think about planning your summer. Ultimately, however, it’s all about planning ahead and being ambitious. So, it’s time to kick it into high gear.

Actionable Items for Rising Seniors/Current Juniors

It’s April of your junior year. The sun has come out. Your classmates are planning the next all-school walkout, and you are probably using all of your strength to focus in history class for just a few more weeks so you don’t totally bomb the question about the Teapot Dome Scandal on your final exam. April also means that if you haven’t started thinking about the college process, you’re late to the game.

Spring Break Guide: Juniors Who Haven’t Toured Colleges Edition

So, juniors. Spring break is coming up. And let us guess: you haven’t toured any colleges yet. You have two options: 1) tour some colleges or 2) visit some colleges. That was a trick because those two things are the same. This is the time to take advantage of your upcoming break and start visiting colleges, doing your research, forming opinions, and making decisions. If we’re being honest, it’s late for you to be starting the college visit process (you should have already visited at least a couple of schools by now), but here we are. You can do it.

Summer Activities for Students Interested in Environmental Activism

2017 was colossal in many ways. While you were cramming for the SATs and doing a marathon tour of colleges, America was backing out of the Paris Climate Agreement and Antarctica was losing a chunk of ice the size of Delaware. So, now that you’re free from the clutches of AP U.S. History, you might be considering taking to the streets to join the Climate March on Washington. In this post, we have provided some ideas on how the environmental activists among us can spend their summer while impressing college admissions counselors. 

Summer Activities for Students Interested in Politics

Student government may be over for the year, but this summer, Congress will still be very much in session. 2018 is a watershed year for politics. With more women and people of color running for office than any other time in history and arguably more people marching in the streets than any administration since Nixon, the opportunities to get involved are endless. So what if Sarah Blair became a state legislator when she was practically your age? YOU are going to do something other than read Fire and Fury for the seventh time this vacation.  In this post, we will discuss the ways in which students interested in politics can leverage their summer vacation to get ahead in the polls. 

Summer Activities for Juniors Interested in Healthcare

Summer is a great time to get ahead in the college application game. While your competition is busy binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy, we recommend kicking it into high gear and setting yourself to pursue health care in college. There are a number of different ways you can impress the admissions committee, from taking a great internship to spending the summer in a serious college course. Whatever you choose, make sure you challenge yourself and make sure you get specific. There will be hundreds, perhaps even thousands of other applicants who want to pursue careers in healthcare. In order to set yourself apart, you should spend the remainder of your high school career developing yourself as the best within a niche within healthcare. In other words, market yourself as the kid who is going to be the best nurse in the pediatric ICU, the top doctor in medical bionics, or even a successful healthcare marketing professional.

What Should I Do This Summer?

Twas the month before Summer, and all over town,
Not a junior was prepared, no one had broken ground;
They studied for AP and subject tests with care,
In hopes that Harvard would soon answer their prayer;
Their teachers had written their letters with pride;
While parents and guardians raved by their side;
Mamma had bombarded the guidance counselor suite,
“Little Johnny needs AP French—he will be elite!”
Fall classes were picked, and college tours set,
When all of a sudden, Little Johnny awoke in a sweat.
“Oh no!” He exclaimed as he started to panic,
“I have no plans this summer—I need something gigantic!”

We know. How clever, right? Let’s focus on what brought you here, though. If you’re reading this right now, you don’t have summer plans. Take a breath. You’re going to be fine. It’s not IDEAL but it’s not the end of the world. Let’s start planning. If you’re reading this right now, it’s too late to apply to a summer program and more likely than not, you can’t intern anywhere. You could get a paying entry-level job somewhere for the summer, but it might not be the kind of resume boost you’re looking for.

How To ask for a Teacher Recommendation for College

While all of the components of your college application are important, one particularly crucial element that requires notice, effort, and thought are your teacher recommendations. Teacher recommendations are an integral part of your application because it’s an outside perspective. Your teachers and counselors are offering a discussion of your character based on their observations and experiences, and that should not be overlooked. It’s important to give this aspect some significant thought, and just FYI: don’t just assume you should ask your English teacher because you’ve gotten straight 100s on all of your quizzes and papers. Think again, and read on.

Extracurricular Ideas for the Summer after Junior Year of High School

Summer is upon us. Ok, it’s not, but the time to think about and solidify your summer plans is certainly upon us.

We strongly advise against anything that could be considered what we like to call “resume building.” We are anti-resume building, and by resume building, we mean engaging in activities for the sole purpose of listing it on your resume because you think it will “look good.” Spoiler alert: admissions officers can tell when a resume has been padded by “look good” items and you attempting to hide your lackluster interest under a thing you did with a catchy cause or at an exclusive institution.

ACT, SAT, and AP Testing Schedule for Juniors

It’s the beginning of second semester junior year and it’s starting to seem real. The deadlines are in sight, test prep is getting revved up to high gear, you’re finalizing the details for school visits over spring break, and the thought of writing your college essay gives you anxiety. It’s completely understandable that by this time of the year you’re feeling exhausted, and as a parent you might be inclined to give your child breaks from the intense studying and preparation. It’s important to remember that this process is a marathon, not a sprint, which means you need to pace yourself but not fully stop. We want to simplify one of the most important college application items by giving you a testing schedule.

When and how to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation for College

As we’ve said, colleges aren’t just admitting your grades and test scores. They really want to know who you are and why you would be a good fit at their school. By your senior year, there isn’t much you can do to change the nature of your application. Unless you are retaking your tests, your grades and scores are basically set. There are only a few aspects of your application that you get to start from scratch at this point: your essays, your supplements, and your recommendation letters. Your teachers work with you everyday and can speak to qualities you possess that aren’t mentioned elsewhere in your application. The quality of your recommendation letter is extremely important, but we’ve found a lot of our students feel awkward when it comes time to ask their teachers. Here’s a guide to help you figure out how and when you ask your teachers for letters.