by Carson Storie
Junior year is crucial.
It serves as a launching pad for future academic success. Juniors have two big things to take care of, both school work and standardized tests, the SAT/ACT.
When determining what applicants to accept, colleges look especially close at grades for junior year.
This can be compared to how high schools pay special attention to seventh grade. High schools know that year reflects a student’s average academic success throughout middle school.
The same can be said for colleges and junior year. Colleges want to see how well students do that year, if they have been either improving bad grades or maintaining good grades. Keeping grades the first priority can be especially difficult for students during their junior year.
In addition to various extracurricular activities, many students have hectic and busy schedules. Juniors have to do school work, get forty hours of service, prepare for the SAT and/or the ACT, sift through e-mails and letters from colleges, research and visit colleges and apply for scholarships.
Some students wonder how they are supposed to do well on the SAT if they spend all of our time doing school work.
“I am up into the wee hours of the night preparing my body and mind for the rigors of the SAT and of deep snapping,” junior Eli Bacilla said. “I do not have a social life so that is not an issue for me.”
The key to success in junior year is time management. Students have to balance high school, extracurricular activities, and preparations for college.
For many students, this is a hard skill to learn. However, it is worth it. Time management allows a student to do everything he needs to do in an efficient manner.
In order to manage time efficiently, students must stay organized and keep up with assignment due dates and test dates.
“I make sure I write down everything I have the next day,” junior Joseph Buckle said. “Look at the LAPs. Be prepared for and know what is going on in class.”
Colleges also look closely at applicants’ SAT and/or ACT scores. These tests are very important to the admissions departments at colleges. This is comparable to how private high schools look at the scores for the HSPT. Even if a student has his heart set on going to a certain college and he knows he has the grades to get in, he still needs to do well enough on either the SAT or ACT to get in.
The Naviance link on the St. Thomas website lists SAT and ACT scores that individual colleges generally accept.
To perform well on either of these tests, it is necessary to practice. Both the SAT and the ACT test students’ ability to solve math problems, understand and use vocabulary words, write grammatically correct statements, comprehend the meaning of given passages, and write an essay with a clear thesis statement and supporting evidence.
SAT and ACT practice books are available for purchase and can be very helpful. Students are also encouraged to join a study group for the these tests.
“I am in a study group for the SAT, junior Jared Enochs said. “It has taught me strategies and different ways to maneuver around the tricks of the test.”
“In addition to the study group, I am learning a bunch of different vocabulary words, focusing especially on roots. I am also practicing the reading comprehension questions out of a practice book,” Enochs said.
How well students perform during junior year and how high they score on the SAT/ACT will have an effect on what choices they will have when it comes to college.
Where a student goes to college will have a lasting effect on his life.
Therefore, if you have a goal for your career and know that a good college education is necessary to achieve that goal, junior year is the time to get serious about school.