Misconceptions about junior year mislead seniors

Nina Schmidt

Junior year is commonly thought of as the most difficult year of high school. Academic rigor, stress over SAT and ACT scores, taking APs, grades that colleges will look at most intensely and much more.

But senior year also has its own stresses. Having to make time to complete college applications, semester grades that could make or break a college admission and just as many if not more APs than junior year all add up to a taxing experience. The senior issue is the perfect time for seniors to reflect and let lower grades know what to expect.

Senior Ethan McCarthy found the misconceptions about junior year to be particularly troubling. “Everyone had hyped up junior year so I went into it with the expectation of having to work hard. Going into senior year, however, I found that it was just as hard, if not harder than junior year. With college apps on top of everything else, I was completely overwhelmed.” McCarthy said.

Other seniors like Gen Castle found senior year to be harder partially on an emotional basis.

“I think the anxiety levels are much higher in seniors because there’s more going on than ever before.” she said.

On top of the workload, there’s pressure to make important decisions.

“By the time I got to senior year I was in the thick of college apps and preparing for college as compared to being a junior when I had some time left to think about things.” Castle said.

Seniors like Reece Olrich found their experience to be true to the classic concept of the rigor of junior year.

“I was far more stressed out junior year because I was worried about getting my grades up.” Olrich said. “Senior year I’ve just been trying to keep my GPA from dropping too much.”

Much of what makes senior year stressful is the combination of the usual pressure of academics combined with the rigorous process of college application according to McCarthy. Some seniors found a way around this anxiety inducing combination.

“I think the college application process is only as stressful as you make it. I finished almost all of my applications and supplements before school started, so by the time everybody else was doing them and stressing I was able to focus on my classes.” Olrich said.

Another aspect of the application process is outlook.

“I would recommend trying to be as enthusiastic about the application process as possible, because honestly it can be a very fun and exciting process.” Olrich said.