11th Grade: Kicking into High Gear
Your junior year is where momentum really starts to build. Check in with your counselor and make sure you’re taking the right classes to get you where you want to go. You’ll be looking more closely at colleges, training programs, and jobs and getting serious about your post-graduation options. There’s a lot to do this year but remember—the future looks bright.
Tackle your junior year!
Talk to Your School Counselor (as Often as You Need To)
Regular, one-on-one conversations with a mentor will make all the difference.
Your guidance counselor, college and career advisor, and trusted teachers are there to make sure you get the answers you need to make your post-high school plans. Meet with your go-to advising person several times this year to discuss career paths, college, and technical training options. Have specific questions prepared each time, so that you can walk away with usable information and tasks to complete.
- Use this guide to identify issues and think through what you want to ask your counselor before meeting with them.
Make Sure You're Taking the Right Classes
Review your class schedule, your high school’s graduation requirements, and any GPA/performance thresholds attached to your future ambitions.
Verify that you have taken, or are taking, classes that will help you achieve your career goals. Idaho’s high school graduation requirements match up with the admissions requirements for all Idaho public colleges and universities, but you may want to consider taking additional credits in specific subject areas if you have a career goal in mind, seek to earn college credits prior to attending, or are applying to colleges that have different requirements.
- Review Idaho’s graduation requirements.
- It’s not too late to start taking career and technical education classes to prepare for a job after high school.
- Learn more about dual credit classes.
- If you are enrolled in a pathway career and technical education (CTE) program you may start earning SkillStack® badges this year. These badges stack up to Technical Competency Credits which can get you ahead in your technical college program.
Keep those grades up.
Your GPA matters the most this year.
The grades you’re earning right now will impact your options next year. A solid GPA means you’ll be eligible to enroll in Idaho public universities or compete for an apprenticeship or good job after high school. A really strong GPA could mean more scholarship money for college or career training. So stay focused and ask for help if you need it, particularly if there’s a class or two where you’re struggling to maintain a high grade.
- Find out how your GPA can affect which type of college you might be able to get into.
- See where you’re at by calculating your current GPA: A = 4.0; B = 3.0; C = 2.0; D = 1.0; F = 0. Add up all of your class grades and then divide that number by the number of classes you’ve taken. That’s your current GPA. Want to double-check? Ask your counselor.
- Learn what you can do to improve your GPA.
Do more than school.
Junior year can wear you down. Reliable friends and having a job or after-school commitment might lend much needed perspective. Stay involved.
Demonstrating that you are a student with diverse skills and interests will help you get into college and can lead to scholarship opportunities. Join a club, do a sport, or volunteer in your community. Whether it’s school-based or community activity, find something you can be passionate about and do it!
- Explore school-based extracurricular activities on the Idaho High School Activities Association website.
- Consider joining one (or more) of the seven career and technical education (CTE) student organizations.
- Try working part-time to save for college and learn about the types of tasks/activities you enjoy as well as those you don’t. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and what you want in a career.
- Check out the Idaho Department of Labor’s job search.
- Attend a career fair. Talk with employers and ask questions about the field and qualifications they are looking for. Also, ask them about professional or “soft skills,” you may need to develop before applying for jobs that interest you.
Figure out what you want in a college or training program.
Define your expectations and compare various pathways. Be honest about what you want and what you will need after high school.
A lot of things factor into making sure a school or program is right for you: what you plan to study, class size, housing options, transportation, cost, etc. While you don’t have to figure everything out before you graduate, you may feel more confident if you take some time now to consider what you want later.
- Check out this Next Steps Idaho guide to understanding college and training options.
- Make a list of your needs and priorities, so you can refer back to it as you research schools.
What’s in Store
The big payoff for all your hard work. And as you’re making important decisions about what’s next, Next Steps Idaho is here to help you stay on track. No matter where you go or what you do, your future is bright.