The Importance of the High School Junior Year    

In the junior year of high school you'll make critical decisions that could have a major impact on the next five years (and beyond) as you start to narrow lists of colleges and career paths. Here are FIVE critical issues that you will be dealing with to increase your chances of success in college and career: 

Classes and Grades:

The junior year selection of classes- and the grades you receive in them- is very important because it is the last full year of grades that admissions folks will review while deciding your fate. You'll want to stick to a tough regimen of college-prep classes, including some AP and Honors level courses, if possible. It's important not to overload yourself, but to challenge yourself to prepare for college level work.  Be good to your teachers. You will be asking some of them to write you letters of recommendations for college and/or career opportunities. Take the time in your junior year to get to know at least a few of your teacher on a more personal level. See Resume Writing under the Junior drop down menu of this site for details.

Standardized Tests:

Just when you thought you were done with MCAS comes another year of standardized tests.You'll begin this year by taking the PSAT/NMSQT test in October. This test, which measures critical reading, math problem-solving and writing skills, is important for 3 reasons. (It's a good indication and excellent preparation for SAT Test, the score you earn may qualify you for a select group of merit scholarships, and it's the first chance you have to begin requesting information from colleges.)  In May or June you will register for the SAT and/or ACT. Some of you may be registering for the five subject-specific SAT Subject exams if applying to colleges that require/request them.  SAT and ACT testing dates and additional information available on the Guidance Website site.

Planning for Life after high school:

The junior year is THE time to get organized and begin planning for life after Durfee High.   Career/Military Bound: You should begin to look at perspective employers for after graduation. If you start looking now, you might be able to get a position with them early. You might also want to begin to look into some type of additional education or training you might need (especially if your career field requires a certification). If you're thinking of a military career, now is the time to meet with military recruiters to learn more about the process/options.   College Bound: Begin to get prepared for the onslaught of college material that will be coming your way (via mail, email and from college fairs). Remember just because a college sends you information, it does not necessarily mean you are automatically in. You have to apply and meet specific criteria to be accepted. There are numerous websites (see Helpful Webisites included on this website) that can help you learn more about colleges, majors and minors, etc. You are encouraged to attend college fairs and if possible the colleges themselves (see the Campus Visit Checklist included on this website). By the end of you junior year you should have a list of 5-10 colleges you want to investigate further. Many students get a big box and start dumping all the mailed materials they receive into the box.    

Career Research:

Your career choice(s) may have a big impact on the list of potential colleges you consider. You should attempt to take career assessment test to help narrow down career possibilities. www.massintocareers.org is a good website to start and others are listed under Helpful Websites on this site. Use your town zip code to log-on and then create an account so you can save your information. Remember that the results are based on your responses and only reflect what you report. As you move to your senior year and then into college, many more career options will arise that you'll probably at least consider.

Creating a Resume:

Creating a resume can be a daunting task but if you follow these steps it will be easy. Start by listing all your high-school accomplishments, including your coursework, academic or athletic accomplishments, awards and honors, and any other achievements. Review any and all of your work experiences, including part-time jobs and volunteering or community service, and describe those experiences using actions verbs. Showcase any leadership positions you have held and try to include hobbies and interests. When you're writing a resume, try not to use a template as the format. (See Resume Writing on this site for additional information)

Final Tips: Remember that the more you accomplish in your junior year, the more you can relax and truly enjoy your senior year in high school!!!