Spring Term of your junior year can be a hectic time—with SAT/ACTs, schoolwork and AP courses, and preparing your college applications, it can feel like you hardly have a minute to breathe! However, the right preparations and priorities can help make sense of everything and make time for all you need.
So, what should you focus on, and how should you balance your time? Which takes precedent: studying for the SAT/ACT, reviewing for your AP Exam, or drafting a college admissions essay? As overwhelming as it seems, here are three ways to make it less daunting.
1. BREAK DOWN THE TERM
One useful first step is to break “spring term” into each individual month instead of tackling such a big stretch of time all in one piece. It can be helpful to mark a calendar in your study space with important dates: term start and end dates, midterms and AP exams, and of course, the date of your SAT/ACT. Most people take their test in the spring, but the month varies and can affect how you prioritize your time in the run up to test day.
Once you’ve figured out the most important dates in each month, it becomes easier to choose your focus week-on-week, knowing you can catch up where you need to. If you haven’t looked at your AP materials much in the week leading up to your SAT/ACT, that’s okay; you’ll have much more time to focus on them the week after the test.
2. LET GO OF WHAT CAN WAIT
It’s only natural to want to accomplish as much as possible. College applications can be exciting as well as important, and many students are eager to get started as soon as possible. However, even if you already have your college list ready to go and a personal statement in mind, applications by and large won’t be open until well into the summer. While they should remain in the back of your mind, there’s no need to use scarce time working on something you’ll have abundant time for later.
While it can be hard to turn away from something important, however temporarily, it’s important to prioritize properly and give yourself some breaks to avoid burnout. Come summer, you’ll be able to refresh and tackle your college applications head on.
3. YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO AT IT ALONE
Spring term and the deadlines ahead can look daunting, but remember: you’re not alone! There’s nothing wrong with asking for help; in fact, knowing when and how to ask for what you need is an important skill that will serve you well in college.
Collaborating with friends for group study sessions, asking the advice of an older friend or relative who has been there before, and having a tutor keep you accountable as you hone your skills are all excellent ideas you shouldn’t hesitate to utilize. While there is no piece of advice that’s truly one-size-fits-all, people who know you and have worked with you can be there as support, as teammates, and as allies for you and your specific, unique needs.
While spring term can seem scary at first, taking it one step at a time, remembering not to overwhelm yourself, and asking for help when you need it will keep you on the right path. And before you know it, you’ll be prepared and ready to apply to college! Don’t go at it alone; speak to one of our College Advising experts so you know you’re on the right path!