Ask four recent graduates which year of high school was hardest for them, and chances are you’ll get four different answers. Each year of high school brings its own set of unique challenges that students have to prepare for.
On top of those challenges comes external stressors and expectations. Add in the pressure from parents to get good grades, college applications, and heaps of extracurriculars, and it’s no wonder70% of teenssay anxiety is a major problem among peers.
While each year of high school will have its own stressors, many will say junior year is the most challenging. Junior year can be the hardest for several reasons, but with the right prep and expectations, high school students can make the hardest year just a little easier.
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Why Every Year Matters
People might say junior year is the hardest year of high school, but that’s not an excuse to cruise through the other three years.
Freshman and sophomore year are building opportunities. In these two years, many students will take prerequisite courses and join extracurriculars they’ll carry out the rest of their high school career.
During freshman year especially, students will have to adjust to high school and its academic rigor. Getting good grades and getting involved in activities during the first two years of high school can help set the pattern for the next two years.
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Senior Year Slump
Lots of students may claim that senior year is the time to sit back and take it easy. So common is this assumption that lots of seniors claim their final year of high school is the “senior slump.”
But, letting grades slide in a senior year can spell trouble for plans post-graduation. Admission to college, even if already granted, could be rescinded if a senior underperform in their senior year. Grades senior year still matter.
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Why Junior Year Can Be the Most Challenging
Every year of high school is important, but a student’s junior year has its own set of unique challenges and hardships. Here’s what can make junior year tougher than the rest:
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1. Course Load
Junior year is the time to shine before students apply to college. It’s the last full academic year of grades a university will receive before deciding to accept or reject a student. Students may elect to take their most challenging course load during their junior year to show colleges that they’re capable of academic rigor.
Some students may be enrolled inadvanced placement(AP) courses. AP classes give college students the chance to tackle college-level material, while still in high school. At the end of an AP course, students can choose to take the AP exams. Scores from those tests may grant students college credits, so they can skip out of basic courses in their first years on campus.
Junior year can be an academic step-up for high school students if they decide to take advanced classes. In addition to harder classes, there’s a pressure to get good grades in them, because it can be an indicator of performance for colleges.
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On top of AP tests, juniors have more key tests to prepare for. Each test comes with its own strategies and approaches, meaning specialized study and prep. A junior might prepare for and take these tests during the year:
- AP Tests.As mentioned above, if a student decides to take an AP course, they can choose to take the corresponding AP tests as well.
- PSAT/NMSQT.Students can take thePreliminary SAT or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Testas early as their sophomore year of school, but many take it their junior year. The PSAT/NMSQT has two sections; math, and reading/writing. Scores fall between 160 and 760.
- Offered in October each year, the PSAT doesn’t impact college admissions like the SAT, but it can help students qualify for National Merit Scholarships if they receive a certain score. Students are not required to take the PSAT test, but it can be one way to prepare for the SATs and potentially qualify for scholarships.
- SAT/ACT.Scores from either the SAT or ACT test are required by many colleges for admission. But, even if they’re not required by a college, a strong SAT or ACT score can give a student aleg upin the application process.
- Most high school students choose to take the SAT or ACT tests in the spring of their junior year or the fall of senior year. Both tests have certain quirks and strategies associated with them, so the key to getting a great score may meanlots of preparation.
- Some juniors choose to take rigorous in-person prep courses or take several practice tests before sitting for the exam.
- SAT Subject Tests. Different from the standard SAT, subject tests can help students showcase strength in one particular subject on their college application. There are20 different subject testsoffered over five areas of study. Tacking on a subject test to a college application may help bolster a student’s resume.
Subject tests are shorter than the SATs and are offered several times a year. Prepping for a subject test isn’t the same as standard SAT prep. Prep is different depending on the topic.
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3. College prep
Juniors not only have more academic pressure on them and tests to prepare for, but many will add college prep to their extracurriculars. Whether that means spending weekends touring campuses or researching schools at night, finding a school that’s the right fit can take up a considerable amount of time.
There’s no one way to ensure the right fit for all students. Some may choose a campus-based on their desired degree, others for proximity to home or budget. No matter the motivator, finding the right school can take time.
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Testing Your Habits
There’s no doubt junior year has a lot going on. The challenge comes not only from the rigor but also the pressure associated with making some big life choices.
Freshman and sophomore year have their fair share of challenges, but junior year will test the habits of students—pushing them to work harder academically and personally.
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Making the Harder Stuff Easier
Junior year may present a variety of challenges, but figuring out a way to pay for college shouldn’t have to be one of them. As early as junior year, students can start considering the cost of college and the ways to pay for it.
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Learn About Student Loans
Taking time to learn aboutstudent loansduring college prep can help give juniors a better sense of what lies ahead of them. After applying for federal loans and aid, they might need to evaluate additional options to pay for their tuition.
That could mean picking up apart-time or summer jobor researchingscholarships or grantsthat can help pay tuition. It’s important a student knows their full menu ofoptions to pay for schoolbefore committing to anyone strategy.
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Private Loans for College
Another option available are private student loans.It’s worth noting that students generally exhaust all other options before borrowing a private student loan.
Junior year may be the hardest year of high school, but student loans don’t have to be another hurdle.
This article originally appeared onSoFi.comand was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.
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What is the hardest year of high school? - MediaFeed? ›
While each year of high school will have its own stressors, many will say junior year is the most challenging. Junior year can be the hardest for several reasons, but with the right prep and expectations, high school students can make the hardest year just a little easier.Why is 11th grade the hardest year? ›
Academically, 11th grade is the most rigorous yet for students aiming for selective colleges. Many load up with Advanced Placement and honors courses. Others will be tempted to improve their chances of a perfect GPA by taking easier courses. This is a mistake, counselors warn.Is 11th grade the worst grade? ›
It's the worse year because of pressure academically: socially, and mentally. 11th grade has to be the hardest grade because it is what determines your class rank when you graduate and your ACT and SAT scores start to become recognized, as well as colleges looking at your grades before admission.What is the hardest class in high school? ›
- Physics 1. As one of the hardest high school classes, this course includes not only algebra but also scientific inquiry and physics. ...
- Environmental Science. ...
- Chemistry. ...
- U.S. Government and Politics. ...
- U.S. History. ...
- Human Geography. ...
- European History. ...
Junior year is often full of stressful academic experiences. SAT's, the desire to get good grades and the college application process make junior and senior years arguably the most difficult of high school. Students in each year face unique challenges and can struggle to find the time and energy to get everything done.What is 10th class called in Canada? ›
Secondary (or high) school
Secondary education is generally for kids 12 to 18 years old. This group usually includes Grades 7 to 12.
While each year of high school will have its own stressors, many will say junior year is the most challenging. Junior year can be the hardest for several reasons, but with the right prep and expectations, high school students can make the hardest year just a little easier.What is grade 11 like in Canada? ›
In Grade 11, your child will need to earn credits in 4 compulsory subjects: English, Language Arts, Mathematics, Physical Education/Health Education and History of Canada. These credits are required to obtain a Manitoba high school diploma.Does grade 11 matter in Canada? ›
Yes grade 11 marks are probably the most important factor. At the time of application, you will only have some marks from grade 12.What grade is grade 11 in Canada? ›
|Starting age||Canada||United States|
|14-15||Grade 9||Grade 9|
|15-16||Grade 10||Grade 10|
|16-17||Grade 11||Grade 11|
|17-18||Grade 12||Grade 12|
What is the most failed high school class? ›
Students who don't complete Algebra 1 have just a one in five chance of graduating from high school. This is a statistic that particularly affects students who are Black, Latino, English learners, or experiencing poverty, putting them at a disadvantage for future careers and higher earnings.What grade is the easiest in high school? ›
Going into high school, many students hear that freshman year is the “easiest” year. Some think that colleges don't consider it as much as they do one's sophomore, junior, and senior years. While this is typically true, it doesn't mean that students should entirely dismiss the importance of their freshman year.Which is the toughest subject in world? ›
Engineering is considered one of the most difficult courses in the world as it involves more math and physics than most students want to take on. The course curriculum includes problem-solving using tactical and analytical skills and critical thinking.What is the most stressful year of high school? ›
Although some people might find that freshman year of high school is challenging, junior year would typically be the most difficult, busy, and important year because of everything you have to juggle from academics, extracurricular activities, and college preparation to still keeping a social life.What year is most important in high school? ›
The freshman year is the most important year of high school and a crucial chance for a fresh start. Strong students can quickly fall off course if they start cutting classes and blowing off homework.What's the hardest grade to teach? ›
Standardized Testing May Cause Grades 3 and Up to Be the Hardest Elementary Grades to Teach. Many educators argue that the hardest elementary grade to teach is one with standardized testing pressures.How old is a 11th grader? ›
It is typically the third year of high school (and is the final year in some countries). Students in eleventh grade are usually 16-17 years of age.How old is a 12th grader? ›
Students in twelfth grade are usually 17–18 years old.What grade is 16 years old? ›
The end of high school can be a bittersweet time for both students and their parents. You've come such a long way and have so much to look forward to in just a few short months. As high school ends and college draws near, you'll likely experience a range of emotions.
Is college harder than HS? ›
Yes, college classes are typically harder than high school classes because the course work, topics, and depth of materials are more complex, set at a faster pace, and require more studying.Why is junior year so stressful? ›
Students have to juggle a lot in their junior year. Heavy course loads, standardized testing, and extracurricular activities (not to mention trying to have a social life) can make it difficult for teens to balance everything on their plate.What grade should a 13 year old be in Canada? ›
Kindergarten is offered in both public and independent schools. Typically, Elementary schools in BC enrol students in Kindergarten (age 5) and Grades 1 to 7 (ages 6-12). Secondary schools in most school districts enrol students in Grades 8 to 12, or in Grades 9 to 12 (ages 13-17).Is Grade 13 a thing in Canada? ›
The Ontario education system had five years of secondary education, the fifth year known as "grade 13" from 1921 to 1988. Then, grade 13 was replaced in 1993 by the OAC for students starting high school (grade 9).What is a fail in Ontario? ›
F. 0.00 - 49.99. F. R (Remedial standards-used in elementary schools), or F (Failing standards-used in high schools), 49% and below.Is 90 a good grade Canada? ›
Colleges consider your fall and final semester grades even if you've already received admission; that's how much your final year grades matter.Does queens look at grade 11 marks? ›
Applications for admission to Queen's are reviewed on a rolling basis and we make conditional offers of admission based on available grade information. This can include using grade 11 marks, when grade 12 marks are not yet available.Is a 94 average good? ›
3.9 GPA is equivalent to 94% or A letter grade. The national average GPA is 3.0 which means a 3.9 is far above average. A 3.9 is so high that it can be hard to raise it any higher!Is C+ a good grade? ›
A+, A, A- indicates excellent performance. B+, B, B- indicates good performance. C+, C, C- indicates satisfactory performance. D+, D, D- indicates less than satisfactory performance.
What age is JK in Ontario? ›
We're always happy to help! At what age do children start school? Children eligible for junior kindergarten must be four years old by the end of December. Children eligible for senior kindergarten must be five years old by the end of December.What year do most students fail? ›
You may be surprised to learn that many students fail academically in their first year of college. One-third of freshmen students don't make it to their sophomore year. That's a huge number, and it worries everyone concerned with higher education.What is the most failed grade? ›
F - this is a failing grade.What is the highest math? ›
A doctoral degree is the highest level of education available in mathematics, often taking 4-7 years to complete. Like a master's degree, these programs offer specializations in many areas, including computer algebra, mathematical theory analysis, and differential geometry.Will one b ruin my chances? ›
One B will not hurt your chances, especially because it was in a rigorous AP class. Your B will hardly make a dent in your GPA, and assuming that will be your only B by graduation, your GPA will be in the high 90th percentile even at the most competitive schools.What grade are most 17 year olds in? ›
|Age||UK Years||US/International Grades|
|14 - 15||Year 10||9th Grade (Freshman)|
|15 - 16||Year 11||10th Grade (Sophomore)|
|16 - 17||Year 12 / Lower 6th||11th Grade (Junior)|
|17 - 18||Year 13 / Upper 6th||12th Grade (Senior)|
Is there a law or policy regarding the number of times a student can be retained? There is nothing in the EC that prohibits school districts from retaining a child in more than one grade.What is the number 1 hardest course? ›
- Quantum Mechanics.
- Fine Arts.
- Foreign Language.
It is believed that a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or BSN is the toughest course in the world as per the Guinness Book of World Records along with courses like MBBS, BCom, IAS, IPS and Engineering, etc.Which is the easiest subject in the world? ›
- Math. Math is a subject that is mainly conceptual. ...
- Physical Education. If you're like most people, you probably dreaded having to go to gym class when you were in school. ...
- Art. ...
- Music. ...
- Language Arts. ...
- Science. ...
- Health. ...
What grades are most stressful? ›
And while high school is full of new experiences, many of which can cause students stress, junior year has a reputation as the most stressful of the four years of high school.What grade level is the most stressful? ›
We know that students do much better when they know they have caring adults supporting them. Typically, 11th grade is the “most stressful” for students as that is the year they take the SAT test, M-Step and Workkeys tests in the spring.What is the high school depression rate? ›
16 percent of US teens (ages 12 to 17)—more than 4 million adolescents—had at least one major depressive episode in 2022. In addition, 11.5 percent of US youth (over 2.7 million high school students) are experiencing major depressive disorder with severe impairment.Why is 9th grade so important? ›
Consider ninth grade as the “capstone” year of middle school
Experiencing ninth grade as the culminating year of middle school, rather than the bottom rung of high school, can be a great way for students to cement fundamental skills and build the confidence to move on and have a successful high school experience.
A comprehensive look at historical data on letter grades given by more than 200 four-year colleges and universities found that A's have become "ordinary."Do grades matter in life? ›
Grades by no means define a student, but that doesn't mean they aren't very important. They can influence your class, college, scholarship, and career opportunities.What grade is hardest for kids? ›
Third Grade is an Important Transitional Year: How Parents Can Help. Are you aware that the transition from second to third grade is often considered to be one of the most difficult years in your child's education? Most educators are aware of this big leap, but many parents may not be.What is the best grade to teacher? ›
If your really love helping young learners grow and play, preschool, kindergarten, or grades 1 through 3 are great. If you're more interested in helping children develop good thinking skills as they mature, grade 4 is a good place to start.What is the easiest year of high school? ›
Going into high school, many students hear that freshman year is the “easiest” year. Some think that colleges don't consider it as much as they do one's sophomore, junior, and senior years. While this is typically true, it doesn't mean that students should entirely dismiss the importance of their freshman year.Do 11th grade grades matter? ›
Pretty much every college will see your teen's grades from the first year of high school as part of their transcript review. Even universities that emphasizes tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade grades when they evaluate applicants for admission will still see ninth grade marks on transcripts.
How old are most 11th graders? ›
It is typically the third year of high school (and is the final year in some countries). Students in eleventh grade are usually 16-17 years of age.What is the most stressful grade level? ›
Junior year is often thought of as the most stressful year as a highschooler. Students have a demanding workload from AP classes and standardized tests like the ACT and SAT.What is considered a terrible grade? ›
Top Tips on What to Do When You Got Bad Grades
Anything below a C is generally considered to be a bad grade, and this is because C is the minimum grade needed to pass most courses. A D or F indicates that the student did not meet the minimum requirements for the course and will likely have to retake it.
Putting freshman grades in context. For colleges, the freshman year is typically the least important year on the high school transcript (they figure you're just trying to find the school every day).What years matter most in high school? ›
Junior Year is the Most Important
While all the years of high school are important, junior year is definitely one that stands out for many reasons, and for college-bound teens, it may be the most important year of their high school career.
Admission averages are calculated using the final grades in the five courses required by the program you have applied for. Where grade 12 final marks are not available, we will use the final mark achieved in the grade 11 equivalent course.How old are 11th graders in Japan? ›
|14-15||3 (9th)||Junior high school/Lower secondary school (中学校 chūgakkō) Compulsory Education|
|15-16||1 (10th)||The upper-secondary course of special training school|
School Ages and Year Levels
Students finish Primary or Elementary school in Grade 6 at the age of 11 or 12 years old. Students start secondary school in Year 7 at 12 to 13 years old.