Ah, junior year. Nothing unpredictable or new, no worries! It is true that the junior year is probably the most comfortable of the college years; one step closer to graduation, but far enough away that your student won't experience the pressure and stressors that come with it. Some might even call junior year boring. However, it can be an exciting and productive year if a student takes intentional steps to start preparing early for their final year and all that comes with it.

Junior year issues

Academics
  • Starting to seriously consider career options related to major
  • Conduct initial search of professions and graduate school programs
  • Confident and comfortable with academic expectations—know faculty, the classroom routine, and study habits
  • For some, a new class may prompt an interest in potentially adding a minor or a major
  • Develop supportive relationships with peers in academic cohort
  • Question what the text, professor, or peers believe and say
  • Less general education coursework, and more major-related classes
Relationships
  • Develop trusting and comfortable friendships
  • Less need to go home for summers and breaks
  • Develop mentoring relationship with younger peers
  • Confidence and ability to have philosophical conversations with faculty and staff regarding deeper issues such as politics, spirituality, academic studies, and controversial subjects
  • Develop a new and more mature relationship with parents
Finances
  • Start to think about starting salaries for career options
  • If living off campus, may experience new financial responsibility with costs related to food, rent, transportation, and bills
  • Feel the need to get an off-campus job, or for some, a second job.
Self-awareness
  • Develop confidence in abilities and knowledge
  • Explore purpose in life and sense of spirituality
  • Question original values and beliefs
  • Seek new experiences and opportunities
  • Confidence in making personal decisions and choices
Provide these general tips to your junior:
  • Don't let up--keep academics on the top of the priority list
  • Visit Career Services
  • Try out new experiences—an internship, service-trip, or study abroad
  • Explore career shadowing, mentoring, or internship opportunities
  • Take a career assessment
  • Explore graduate school options
  • Stay involved, or get involved, in a new co-curricular activity

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