By the time students reach junior year, they likely know their way around the building and can open a locker in five seconds flat. However, junior year has the reputation of being the most challenging year of high school for a reason. For one, this tends to be the first year in which students are taking multiple AP, IB, or Dual Enrollment classes. Yes, they may have dipped their toe into AP World History as a sophomore, but most students haven’t taken multiple AP courses in the same year until junior year.
So, how should your child approach the later high school years differently than the earlier ones? First, make sure students are setting aside enough study time outside of class from the beginning of the year. Most teachers will mention the time commitment expectation on day one but, if not, ask about homework expectations. For AP, IB, or DE courses, plan to spend 30-60 minutes after each block. That means students should set aside at least two hours of study time after school each day.
Even if your student doesn’t “have homework”, they have homework. This is a big mindset change for students. As they transition from earlier high school to college level work, there is less handholding from the teachers. For example, students are expected to know how to study for a test and may not receive a specific study sheet outlining all the vocabulary and concepts that could be tested. Even if a teacher doesn’t assign specific homework, students should still be reviewing notes from class or getting ahead on reading for the next class. This will make life so much easier come test time.
Don’t let pride get in the way. Students can be overly ambitious in planning their schedules for junior and senior year. The pressure of showing colleges a rigorous courseload may encourage students to take more advanced classes than they are ready for. Keep the dialogue open about how the first weeks of school are going. Most schools have a short window for when a student can drop a class without it showing up on their transcript. If your student feels like he or she has taken on more than they can be successful in, encourage your student to talk to their teacher and counselor about options.
If your student could benefit from additional support outside the classroom, a tutor might be a great resource. Our tutors can assist with improving study and organizational skills, passing the next math test, or writing a compelling essay. Want to learn more? Schedule a call!