Educational Support Departments » Guidance Center » Juniors

Juniors

You have survived the first two years of High School, and now you are officially an “UPPERCLASSMAN.”  
 
With advancement, comes great responsibility.  THIS will be the MOST IMPORTANT YEAR of your High School career so far. 
Your Junior year grades are the MOST HIGHLY considered by colleges: 
 
This is the year when you decide which teachers will write your college recommendations. 
 
This is the year when you take your SATs. 
 
This is also the year when you create your college list and career goals. 
 
Sound intimidating?  It probably is, with good reason.  Junior year is the most stressful year of high school for most students. But don’t worry – we got you covered! 
 
This year, the Guidance Team will become your best friend, and this handbook will become more important than Instagram and/or TikTok – or at least, we hope so… 
 
So go ahead, take a deep breath, read through this book, highlight the important things, mark down your questions, and
 
GET READY, GET SET, GOOOO!!!!! 
 
Sincerely, 
Your Guidance Team 
 

 

Regents 

Diploma 

Advanced 

Regents 

Diploma 

English 

8 

8 

Social Studies 

Distributed as follows: 

    Global History (4) 

    U.S. History (2) 

    Participation in Government (1) 

    Economics (1) 

8 

8 

Science (including lab) 

Distributed as follows: 

    Life Science (2) 

    Physical Science (2) 

    Life Science or Physical Science (2) 

6 

6 

Mathematics 

    Including at least 2 credits of  

    advanced math (e.g., Geometry or  

    Algebra II). 

6 

6 

Language Other Than English (LOTE) 

2 

6 

Visual Art, Music, and/or Theater 

2 

2 

Physical Education (Every Year) 

4 

4 

Health 

1 

1 

Electives 

7 

7 

Total 

44 

44 

A Reflection on the past year. 
 
Quiz time! Let’s reflect on this past year by going through the following exercise.  Afterwards, add up the numbers, and see where you stand! 
Use the following Scale to rank each statement: 
 
               1                           2                   3                   4                5 
Strongly Disagree         Disagree        Neutral           Agree      Strongly 
                                                                                                    Agree 

 

 

I am happy with my grades and academics. 

 

I do not feel any peer pressure to do “bad” things. 

 

I know how to improve my weaknesses. 

 

I do not procrastinate. 

 

I am focused on school and am not easily distracted 

 

I join a lot of clubs and sports. 

 

I am happy with my social life. 

 

My circle of friends are high Achievers. 

 

Add up Your Score Total----------------------------------------------

 

 
If You Scored… 
32 or higher, then great job!  Keep on the right track! 
Between 25 and 32, you have a few areas to work on, but you are doing pretty well overall.  Identify weaknesses! 
Between 18 and 25, you are okay – but only okay.  Focus your strengths on improving 2-3 of the above statements. 
17 or lower, it is time to sit down with your guidance counselor and come up with a game plan for this year! 

 

First things first, let’s understand some basic “college lingo”: 
 
  • Undergraduate / undergrad: typical 4-year college environment and/or typical 4-year college students 
  • Graduate School: specialized programs students can attend AFTER they complete a 4-year college degree 
  • Community College: 2-year school where students receive an Associate’s degree 
  • College: typically refers to a 4-year college where students receive a Bachelor’s degree 
  • University: typically refers to a large school where students can earn their Bachelor’s, Master’s, or doctorate degrees 
 
 
Now, let’s discuss the different types of degrees offered: 
 
  • Associate’s Degree (A.A. or A.S.): degree after 2-year college program; omen is enough for mid-level jobs, but not enough to enter graduate programs, such as medicine or law 
  • Bachelor’s Degree (B.S. or B.A.): standard 4-year college degree – this is what most students aspire to get 
  • Master’s Degree (M.S. or M.A.): advanced study in a particular field after the Bachelor’s degree 
  • Juris Doctorate (J.D.): Degree needed to be a lawyer 
  • Medical Doctorate (M.D.): Degree needed to be a doctor 
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): very advanced study in a particular field after either a Bachelors and/or Master’s 
 
MANY TYPES OF COLLEGES: 
 
Liberal Arts & National Research Universities 
 
Liberal Arts Colleges: Teaching You How to Think 
4-year colleges that focus on Bachelor’s degrees and offer the “classic” subjects, like languages, literature, history, arts, and sciences 
Take classes in many different subjects, eventually choosing a major 
Focus is on developing critical thinking and analytical skills 
Typically have small classes of 5-15 students 
Typically situated in suburbs and rural setting, with beautiful castle-like buildings and park-like grounds 
Typically smaller student population, oftentimes the size of FDR, i.e. 500 students or fewer per grade 
 
National Research Universities: Focusing on Results 
Much larger than liberal arts schools, omen enrolling tens of thousands of students, and offers Masters and PhD degrees, in addition to traditional 4-year Bachelor’s degrees 
Many lecture-based classes, with hundreds of students per class; however, omen have small breakout sessions with fewer than 20 students 
Professors are sometimes the leading thinkers, and they use the school resources to publish new and exciting research 
Typically offers many different subjects and majors, including preprofessional programs like business, accounting, and engineering 
 
Vo-Tech and Special Interest 
 
Vocational/Technical/Certification Programs: 
Preparing You for the Working World 
Unlike traditional colleges, such as the liberal arts colleges or large national research universities, vocational programs are just that: they teach a specific vocation 
Vocation means Job or Skills 
Often very small and offer enrollment throughout the year 
You don’t necessarily “major” in a subject, but rather study a particular area, such as plumbing, bookkeeping, electrical work, mechanics, nurse’s aid, IT, hairdressing or other skill 
Typically take 2 years or less to complete the program 
Culinary schools also fall into this category 
 
Special Interest Colleges: Birds of a Feather Flock Together 
Typically 4-year colleges that award Bachelor’s degrees and are united by a common interest or theme 
Examples: 
HBC (Historically Black College) are schools which historically, but no longer, only accept Black students 
Spelman, Morehouse, Morgan State, Langston, Howard, Delaware State 
Religious schools teach specific religious studies, in addition to subjects and major 
Brigham Young, Roberts Wesleyan, Manhattan College 
Women’s Colleges are colleges that historically and continue to only accept female students 
Bryn Mawr, Smith, Wellesley, Agnes Scott, Barnard 
 
 
Public vs. Private, a Question of $$$$$$ and Preference 
 
Public colleges and universities are primarily funded by taxpayer dollars. Private colleges and universities are primarily funded by private donations and tuition. Which school has higher tuition? You guessed it – private schools! 
However, it’s important to remember that the cost of college is only its STICKER PRICE. How many of you have gone with your parents to buy a car or a house, and then negotiated the price down? Well, college is very similar! 
People who can afford to pay full tuition generally do so, while those who cannot often receive ample financial aid and scholarships. 
While some private schools have a STICKER PRICE of $50,000 per year, they may also have more generous financial aid packages, because a higher proportion of students there pay full tuition. Similarly, a state university may only have a STICKER PRICE of $25,000, but provide smaller financial aid packages, because
 
1) it receives less tuition dollars and
2) more students who attend require aid. 
 
In fact, most of the big-name private schools, like Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Columbia, have a FULL-NEED admissions policy! That means if you can’t afford the school, it doesn’t matter – the school will give you enough money to attend. (Take a look at the back page for colleges!) 
 
So which one is better – public or private? There is no general answer, because it depends on what you’re looking for, what you want to study, and what you hope to accomplish. Some public schools are better at ABC than some private schools, while other private schools are better at XYZ than other public schools. 
Bottom Line: Do your research and don’t be afraid to apply to your dream school!! 
 
Obviously you need good grades to get into college, but colleges are looking for a whole lot more. In order to stand out, you need: 
  • Extracurricular activities 
  • Clubs and teams inside and outside of school 
  • Leadership Skills 
  • Showing initiative 
  • Ability to inspire others 
  • Unique trait 
  • Something about you that will make them go WOW! 
Check off the boxes as you complete each item: 
 
Register for SAT 
Register for ACT 
Register for SAT II Subject Tests 
PASS ALL Regents exams and classes! 
Meet with your College Counselor 
Meet with your Guidance Counselor 
Create List of 5-10 colleges you are interested in  
Get involved – Join at least 1 school club and/or school sport! 
Ask two favorite teachers for college recommendations 
Check out your colleges 
 
 
SAT vs. ACT: Which Do You Choose? 
 
You’ve probably heard of the SAT. But what about the ACT? You can take either test for almost all colleges, so choose the one you dislike less! 
 

SAT 

ACT 

Fewer questions, more time 

More questions, less time 

More Abstract 

More Curriculum-Based 

Fee waivers to send scores to colleges 

Costs $$ to send scores to colleges after test day 

 
 
Whether you take SAT or ACT, remember to bring the following items!! 
  • Test Tickets! 
  • Driver’s License or Valid Photo ID 
  • No.2 Pencils + No-Smudge Eraser that works 
  • Graphing or Scientific Calculator for SAT 
  • 4-Function, Graphing or Scientific Calculator for ACT, but not the TI-89 or TI-92 
  • SAT II Subject Test: Addition to the SAT 
  • So you are taking the SAT (and/or ACT) this year.  FUN RIGHT?  
 
Well, maybe not so fun, but another supplemental, less un-fun test is the SAT II Subject Test, which is like an optional, extra-credit Regents. 
 
SAT IIs are only an hour long and test you in one subject.  You have THREE fee waivers for the SAT IIs, so you should be able to take all these test for free! 
 
Do you speak and write one of the above Languages at Home?  Then you are ready to take an SAT II NOW! 
 
The SAT II looks good on your college application. There is no such thing as failing because you get 200 points for writing your name and the best score is 800. Plus, some colleges (like NYU) will accept 3 SAT IIs in place of the regular SATs! It is recommended that if you are in AP or Honors classes, or score an 85 or higher in your class or on your Regents, you should consider taking the corresponding SAT II Subject Test. You may already be an expert in one of these subject areas: 
 
Registering for the SAT II is the same as the SAT: go to www.collegeboard.org and sign-in under your profile. And just like the SAT, you’ll need your test ticket and photo ID on the day of testing.
 
Find out more about the SAT and SAT II at www.collegeboard.org and the ACT at www.act.org
 
 
If you haven’t already started, then this is the year to begin visiting colleges – both in-person and virtually! 
 
Be sure to check out www.cuny.edu and www.suny.edu for more information about these local/state schools. While it’s still early for scholarships, check out www.fastweb.com to browse and daydream which scholarships you will apply to!
 
The five boroughs of New York City are home to dozens of schools, from community colleges to CUNY schools to super fancy Ivy League colleges. 
Text BoxYou Can Visit them all for the price of a subway card! 
 
Call the admissions offices for more information on visiting. Take the tour, and check out the campuses. Can you imagine yourself going to school there? 
 
The best way to visit colleges is the following: 
Call up the admission office or visit the school’s website and register for an information session and/or college tour. 
Attend information session, and bring with you 1-3 questions. 
Meet your regional admissions officer (this is the person who covers NYC) and let them know who you are and why you’re interested in this school (not applicable for CUNY and SUNY). 
Stay in touch with your admissions officer, sending him or her an email once a semester with a quick update of how you’re doing. 
 
Colleges to Visit in and Around NY 
 
Here are some colleges we recommend you visit. We’ve even included the phone numbers and emails of admission offices! 
 
CUNY 
Brooklyn College: 718.951.5001, [email protected]
Hunter: 212-396-6049, [email protected]
Baruch: 646.312.2010, [email protected]
Kingsborough: 718-368-4600, [email protected]
CSI: (718) 982.2010, [email protected]
John Jay: 212.JOHNJAY, [email protected]
Sophie Davis: (212) 650-7711, [email protected]
 
SUNY  
FIT: 212 217.3760 , [email protected]
 
PRIVATE COLLEGES  
NYIT: 800.345.NYIT, [email protected]
NYU: 212 998 4500, [email protected]
NYU Dental Hygiene : (212) 998-9393, http://dental.nyu.edu/academicprograms.html
Columbia: 212-854-2522, [email protected]
LIU: 718-488-1011, [email protected]
St. John’s: 718-990-2000, [email protected]
Sarah Lawrence: (800) 888-2858, [email protected]
Barnard: 212-854-2014, [email protected]
Fordham: 1-800-FORDHAM, [email protected]
Pratt: 718.636.3514, [email protected]
Cooper Union: (212) 353-4120, [email protected]
Wagner College: 718-390-3411, http://wagner.edu/about/offices/
Yeshiva: 212.960.5277, [email protected]
Pace: (212) 346-1323, [email protected]
School of Visual Arts: 212.592.2100, [email protected]
Marymount Manhattan College: 1-800-MARYMOUNT, [email protected] Mercy College: 1-877-MERCY-GO, https://www.mercy.edu/contact-us
The New School: 212.229.5150, [email protected]
 
Now that you are a junior, you are only one year away from making the most important choice of your teenage life so far: college – to go, or not to go? That is the question.  
 
There are over 4,000 colleges for you to choose from in the United States. In New York alone, there are almost 200! The best way to choose a college is to begin by choosing a general career direction.  
 
You don’t need to decide if you want to be a pediatric neurological specialist this instant, but you can probably make a general statement like, “I want to work in healthcare”, or “I want to work with numbers because I like math.” 
 
On the next few pages, we have highlighted a number of different jobs that are popular and growing in demand. There are successful careers for all students – whether you are getting 90s in Honors classes or maintaining a 70 average. 
 
The key is to start thinking and preparing now, so you can make the best decision for your life next year.  
 
Small Business Owner 
Though a college degree is not strictly required to become a small business owner, most people who start their own companies have graduated from a 4-year college, where they learn the basics of business and economics. Even more helpful is an MBA, which is a graduate degree in business requiring two more years of study. 
 
Sales 
People who specialize in sales must have good written and verbal communication skills and must be persuasive while being charming. Salespeople work in both small and large businesses, and usually have graduated from a 4-year college. 
 
Corporate Executive 
Want to be the boss? Corporate executives run the whole show. In order to get this position, you’ll definitely need the 4-year degree and probably an MBA (another 2 years of study). You’ll start in a company at the entry level and learn all the aspects of the business. If you’re smart, a good team player, and a good leader, you can get promoted and work your way to the top. This job requires a lot of experience and a lot of skill, but the average CEO at a Fortune 500 company makes around $10 million a year! Save up for a few years and buy your own island. 
 
 
Detective 
Detectives start out as regular police officers and work their way up to the rank of detective after gaining on-the-job experience for at least three years. Detectives need to be smart, observant, and have great problem-solving skills. You can expect to earn $87k while solving mysteries. 
 
Doctor/Dentist/Veterinarian 
Doctors work with human bodies, dentists work with human teeth, and veterinarians work with animal bodies and teeth! To become any of these professionals, you must first attend 4 years of college, then 4 years of medical, dental, or vet school.  
Vet school is especially difficult to get into, as there are only 28 accredited veterinary medicine schools in the country! Compare that with over 150 medical schools and over 65 dental schools.  
The average doctor makes at least $120k (and up to $600k for some surgeons), average dentist makes $120k and average veterinarian makes $96k  
 
Note: Medical doctors for humans will need at LEAST 3 more years of residency training after medical school before they can become a licensed doctor. 
 
 
 
Engineer 
Let’s take a quick quiz: 
Do you like to make things with your hands? 
Do you like to create or invent new gadgets that make your life easier? 
Are you good at math, science, or computers? 
YES??? Check out engineering! 
 
Engineers are people who design all the things that make this world work. They make computers smaller and more powerful. They create tiny surgical equipment that can enter the smallest blood vessel to conduct life-saving surgery.  
Engineers need at least a 4-year college degree, after which they can work for a company. Most engineers will also get a 2-year Master’s degree while they are working, because most large employers will PAY for this Master’s! 
 
Fire Fighter  
NYC firefighters must be at least 21 years old and have at least 6 months of work experience or college credits. They must also be US citizens and have a driver’s license. Then there’s a physical test and medical screening. A new firefighter makes $43k, but can earn up to $99k in 5 years! 
 
Lawyer 
Lawyers aren’t just the trial lawyers you see on Law & Order. Many lawyers never even step foot into a courtroom! There are many types of lawyers, such as corporate, real estate, business, immigration, divorce, family, and even lawyers for the NYC school district! To become a lawyer, you must first attend a 4-year college and then 3 years of law school. The average lawyer at a corporate law firm makes $160k their first year. 
 
Medical & Clinical Technician (All Fields) 
Have you ever gotten an X-Ray? The person who helped you get the X-Ray is an X-Ray technician. Technicians collect patient samples and run medical tests to help understand what’s making the patient sick. The average technician makes $45,000 per year. It usually takes about 2 years to become a technician through certified Associate’s degree programs at vocational schools. 
 
Nurse (RN & NP) 
There are two types of nurses: Registered Nurse (RN) and Nurse Practitioner (NP). It takes only 2 years to become an RN, while it takes 6 years to become an NP – you must graduate a 4-year college and then get a 2 –year Master of Science in Nursing. The average RN makes $66k while the average NP makes $92k. 
 
Physician’s Assistant (PA) 
PAs are between a doctor and a nurse. While PAs can do many of the same tasks as a doctor, they must always work under a doctor’s supervision. Many people choose a career as a PA instead of a doctor because they want to help people, but want to spend less time in school.  
To become a PA, it takes 4 years of college and then 3 years in a PA program while becoming a doctor takes 4 years of college, then 4 years of medical school, then at least another 3 years of residency. The average PA makes $90k. 
 
Journalist/Blogger 
Anyone can write a blog (even a high school student!) but if you want to write for a popular site or a news outlet, you’ll need a master’s degree in journalism (one or two years after college). This is a competitive field, but if you get good readership, you can expect to make over $50k a year. 
 
Police Officer 
NYPD officers have an important and exciting job keeping New York City safe. In order to become a police officer, you must be 21 years old and have at least two years worth of college credits. After passing a written test, a physical test, and a background check, you’ll join the Police Academy, where you’ll train for about 38 weeks total. Then you’re a cop, putting bad guys away and earning about $45k to start! 
 
Teacher 
Do you remember your third grade teacher’s name? How would you like a generation of children to remember yours? If you think you have what it takes to inspire young people, from kindergarteners to high school students, then you might want to consider a career as a teacher.  
If you’re thinking about being a teacher, you’ll have to graduate from a four-year college, and then go on to graduate school to get a Master’s degree in education.  
By the time you’re done, you’ll be a seasoned professional, ready to take on and inspire a whole classroom of students! The starting salary in NYC for a teacher with a Master’s degree is $45k, and can go above $100k! 
 
Research Scientist 
Research scientists do experiments and clinical trials to expand the breadth and depth of human knowledge. They can work in any scientific field, from researching diseases to medicines to new forms of energy. They also get to wear lab coats and sometimes goggles. Sound cool? Research scientists are omen employed by large companies or universities and can expect to make about $70k per year. But you’ll probably need a PhD in your field, which can take five years – AFTER four year college. But that’s how it is – cool jobs require education. 
 
Skilled Tradesman 
Skilled tradesmen work with their hands, but have much more specialized knowledge than your average laborer. Examples include mechanics, plumbers, tailors, carpenters, electricians, and metal workers. Most of these trades can be learned in a trade school (also called a vocational school) in two years or less, after which there may be an apprenticeship, or paid job training. As more and more people become professionals, there’s a shortage of good tradesmen, which means these jobs are in demand! 
Seriously Guys?  You Are Young Adults 
 
You have goals and have dreams. You have also worked hard for the past few years, so you don’t want everything to go down the drain because of a few minutes of fun right? Right! 
 
Social Media 
Did you know colleges will often look at potential students’ social media accounts? 
Did you know potential employers will often look at potential employees’ social media accounts? 
Be careful of what you post online – both pictures and text – you don’t want to end up losing out on opportunities for doing something inappropriate!!!! 
 
Cutting Class 
This is a NO-Brainer – don’t cut class! 
If you cut class, you’ll have more stuff you’ll need to make up 
The more stuff you need to make up, the more you’ll fall behind 
If you fall behind enough, you may not be able to graduate – even if you have a college acceptance and scholarship waiting!! 
 
Police Record 
As a Junior, you are probably 16 years old, or even older 
If you get in trouble in New York, you will be tried as an adult, and have a permanent police record 
Think a police record is no big deal? Think AGAIN! 
You can lose scholarships, college acceptances, and employment opportunities depending on your record! 
 
 
In New York state, more than 1 out of every 6 students has an IEP – in some schools, it’s 1 out of 4!  

Having an IEP can actually help you on your college applications. 

Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), it’s ILLEGAL for colleges to discriminate against anyone with an IEP.

An IEP can explain lower grades or test scores.
 
An IEP can give you more time to take school tests and SATs.

Writing your essay about overcoming your challenges in school may make you look more attractive to a college.
 
You may be eligible for special education scholarships.
 
When English isn’t your first language, it can be scary and intimidating to apply to college.
 
Students often wonder, “Am I good enough?” or “Will colleges even accept me?”  
 
The answer to both questions is a resounding YES! Many colleges are 10-20% international students, so they understand English is not everyone’s first language.
 
If your English grades aren’t great, you can improve in other areas, such as math and science.
 
Learning the English language and American culture takes time. Colleges know this! Colleges expect you to continue learning, while sharing with other students your unique perspectives as an immigrant and your home country’s culture.