Ivy League Admission Tips: Preparing for College Admissions as a Junior

Your junior year of high school is a great time to boost your admissions profile’s competitiveness, both in terms of academics and extracurricular pursuits. In addition to taking on a heavy course load, you will have to prepare for and take college entrance exams. Demonstrating leadership and innovation should also be a high priority during your junior year.

Academic Planning

This will likely be your most academically challenging year of high school. To craft a competitive admission profile, you need to pursue several AP and other honors courses.

Your grades during your junior year are vital, so you should strive to do well in all your classes. However, keep in mind that getting As should not be an end in itself. Rather, you should do your best to excel and pursue subjects of interest even beyond the classroom.

As you complete academic projects and research papers, make sure to save that work; it may be useful for your college applications.

Standardized Testing

Many students focus on college entrance exams during their junior year. Still, if you have already taken the PSAT and the ACT, your junior year will be much less stressful. Further, you will have more exam scores to choose from.

Starting in August, you should focus on preparing for the PSAT, which is typically taken in October. You should plan to take the PSAT during your junior year because your scores will not be reported to colleges.

Take the ACT in October or December and compare your score to your latest PSAT score. If your ACT score is significantly higher than the PSAT score and will make your admissions profile competitive, then there’s no need for you to take the SAT. On the other hand, if you are not satisfied with your ACT score, you should consider retaking the ACT or choosing to take the SAT instead. Remember that you will always be able to retake these exams in the fall of your senior year.

Extracurricular Activities

While the main focus of your junior year should be on keeping your grades up and scoring well on standardized tests, you must also pursue your core interests. Junior year is the time for you to really let your leadership and innovation shine through.

For your college applications to be successful, you must develop a unique admissions narrative. Your narrative should feature a climax or high point; preferably, this climax should take place toward the end of junior year or in the summer before senior year. Therefore, junior year is the time to start and lead an innovative community project, create a business, enter a major competition, or engage in some other creative leadership activity. Your goal should be to showcase an impressive accomplishment that matches your unique narrative.

Summer Activities

This summer, you should strongly consider pursuing an academic program in the U.S. or abroad. Alternatively, you could continue on a major writing, art, research, or community outreach project that you started on previously. Whichever activity you choose, try to do something meaningful and interesting that suits your application’s theme and narrative.

College Visits and Applications

Sometime in the spring, you should develop a list of potential colleges. Once you’ve created a list of schools, arrange a meeting with your parents and your school counselor to discuss your choices.

Generally, you should wait until the summer to visit the colleges that interest you. This way, you’ll have time to develop your list of potential colleges without missing class or getting behind on your schoolwork.

Admittedly, all of these suggestions may seem like a lot of work. However, as you enter your senior year, you’ll realize that all your efforts were worth it. With so much of the application process completed or underway, you will be able to focus on performing well academically and enjoying an amazing senior year of high school. Book an initial consultation to learn more about how Ivy League Prep helps its clients craft the strongest possible admissions profiles.