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What High School Juniors Should do to Prepare for Senior Year

 

The end of the school year is here–seniors have made their final college choices, AP exams are coming, and for high school juniors, it’s time to start thinking about how to maximize the summer. There is time for new interests to develop before applying to colleges this fall. Whether it’s breadth or depth, it’s time to start planning for an enriching experience. To remain competitive in the college application process, students should organize some activities and things that will not only help them stand out and also reflect who they are.

 

Academics. It is important to stay sharp academically. However, this is a time to pursue something enjoyable. College courses often go beyond the general “English” or “Language Arts” and focus on specific, interesting topics like “Genius and Madness in Literature,” a six-week summer course offered at Cornell. Many colleges and universities offer summer programs for high school students. Pursuing these opportunities to learn more and doing well in a college-level academic environments are two things that colleges like to see from applicants.

 

Activities. Things like a summer job at a coffee house or movie theater, volunteering at a day camp, starting a community garden, or a photography class at a local studio are all good things to do. Whatever it is, consider something that keeps with you interested during the academic year, and possibly even in a career. Colleges like to see long-term commitments from students so look for continuity in activities.

 

Do something out of your comfort zone.
For a lot of students, travel and/or volunteering abroad can be a great way to step out their comfort zones and enhance or challenge worldviews. Students who have a good experience volunteering should continue their commitment during the school year to the work they do by raising money for the cause they’ve worked towards.

 

Get a head start on applications.
Start applications as soon as possible. Starting early allows time to get feedback. Start getting a list of extracurricular and accomplishments together. Don’t forget that things outside of school are also equally valuable if not more valuable.

 

Prepare for a challenging fall semester.
Take challenging courses. Clubs will demand time and teachers will expect a lot. Keep up grades in the fall semester. Do not allow them to slip.