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Student Voices

Junior to Junior: My Advice As A College Student for the College Search

Junior year is an important time in high school and in college. You’re focusing on school work, but you’re also starting to think about your next step and the future. But even though they are similar in that way, there are some things specifically that set apart junior year in high school from junior year in college. As a current junior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, I wanted to compare some of the similarities and differences between these two important years.

College Search VS Internship Search

One of the things I have found most difficult about both junior year of high school and junior year of college is thinking about the future while also in school. It can be hard to set aside time to focus on thinking about what you want to do after high school/college when you are constantly focusing on school work and studying that you have right now. I’ve found that setting aside time, specifically after I’ve finished school work on my to-do list that day, is a helpful way to focus on the college or internship search. You will be thankful in the future when you’ve prioritized this.

In high school, you’re on the hunt for a college — while in college you may be on the hunt for an internship or a job. Both require lots of searching and applications. I’ve had a hard time finding an internship for the summer, and it can be very discouraging getting rejection after rejection and not hearing back from company after company. It’s important not to take the rejections personally and keep trying your best, because that’s all you can really do! One thing I found helpful for both college and career searching has been watching YouTube videos about life at different colleges or life in a certain career to really get a feel for the day in a life and see if you fit in. Current high school juniors, can check out the admissions YouTube channel for some of the best insights into life at UMass Amherst!

Classes You’re Taking

Junior year is known to be your hardest year of high school. You’re taking harder classes and have more expectations in upper-level classes. The same is true for juniors in college, but in different ways. In high school, you’re taking a variety of classes - math, science, English — but in college, your junior year at UMass is typically when you start taking smaller courses that focus more on your major and less on general education. 

Because of this, I found junior year of high school to be more challenging than my junior year of college. I’ve really enjoyed being able to take classes specific to my marketing and communication majors this year. 

Independence and Freedom

One of the biggest differences between junior year of high school and junior year of college is the freedom you have as a junior in college. With freedom, comes responsibility. No one will be reminding you to turn in assignments or to study — you need to do that yourself. In high school I had more guidance from teachers, parents, and guidance counselors when it came to these things.

But freedom and independence are a great thing! If you make sure to stay productive and on top of assignments in college you really will have a lot of free time to do what you like and to socialize!


While high school juniors and college juniors are both at stages where they are focusing on their futures, there are key differences too. Obviously college students are at a stage that entails more responsibility and control over their own future, but juniors at either level will find that perseverance and setting aside time will help them achieve those goals!