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Parents & Family

Preparing For Junior Year

Summer can be the perfect time for students to jump-start their junior year by organizing and prioritizing aspects of their college lives.

As coursework and co-curricular involvement demands intensify and the need to focus on resume-boosting initiatives increases, students can feel overwhelmed by juggling too many roles and responsibilities. Before junior and senior year overload sets in, students should do a quick inventory of their college lives - keep what is useful, discard what is expendable and add what is needed.

The following suggestions can help your student get started:

Stay on Track by Continuing to:

  • Fulfill academic core and major requirements.

  • Update your resume, curriculum vitae and portfolio.

  • Consider the importance of summer school to ease next year's course load and fulfill credit hours towards the core. Many students also find they can boost their GPAs by having more time to study in a relaxed manner.

  • Seek experiential learning opportunities, such as internships, service learning, research initiatives, independent studies and study abroad programs.

  • Build leadership skills by assuming positions with greater responsibility in co-curricular and community activities.

Discard Practices that Include:

  • Continuing to participate in on- and off-campus activities that do not interest you anymore or that do not offer you opportunities for growth, networking or other personal, professional or social benefits.

  • Enrolling in courses for the sole purpose of being "schedule fillers." Carefully choose courses for career relevance, skill/insight building, interest or pleasure

  • Relying on friends for advice when picking courses or choosing professors. Recognize that perspectives can differ among individuals.

  • Staying with familiarity when picking courses, co-curricular involvement and other opportunities. Stepping out of one's comfort zone can be a great learning experience.

  • Viewing summer as a time away from college. Instead, consider it to be a third semester that allows you to further build your personal, professional and career-focused insights and skills.

  • Avoiding campus. Summer is an excellent time to visit the Career Center to meet with an advisor and utilize resources.

Look Ahead By Deciding to:

  • Research fellowships, graduate programs and other scholarly and service opportunities if you do not plan to look for employment immediately upon graduation.

  • Review study guides for whichever graduate-level standardized exam (e.g., GRE, GMAT, GED, LSAT, MCAT, DAT) you plan to take.

  • Join a professional society and read publications in your career field to identify and stay current with issues impacting your intended profession. These also facilitate networking and becoming aware of internship and job opportunities.

  • Strengthen your skills in writing, public speaking, leadership, organizational management and interpersonal communication as a way to impress potential employers and graduate school personnel. Talk with your academic advisor about courses and activities that can help you enhance these competencies.

  • Brainstorm topics for senior thesis/capstone projects, independent studies or research projects. Keep a list you can review at a later date - when the busy school year gets underway and time or ideas may be limited.