The junior year of high school, dubbed, “the most important year of your life” by many teachers, parents, and high school seniors, is a pressure-filled year for the student – but that year for many is finally coming to a close as there is only one month left. Between SATs, ACTs, SAT II subject tests, Regents exams and finals, us juniors cannot wait for everything to be finished.
This is the year when we’ve had numerous arguments with our parents about our major and where we want to go to college. Some parents have a strong opinion about where they want their son or daughter to go and don’t even consider their child’s opinion. Occasionally, our parents need a little reality check, “Yes mom and dad, you are paying for college, but I’m the one who’s going to be going there for four or more years, and working hopefully my whole life, in the field of the degree I graduate with.” Of course, we are sixteen and need a lot of guidance in life changing decisions, but lighten up a bit.
There is a college for everyone. According to www.nces.ed.gov, there are precisely 2,675 four-year degree-granting colleges in the United States – now that’s what I call having options.
Traveling to different colleges every other month, walking around the beautiful campuses, is exciting but quite exhausting, considering we have to drag our siblings along for the thrilling road trip with the family. It’s overwhelming seeing how fast our high school career is coming to an end, but not as overwhelming as the dreaded SAT exam is.
The SAT consists of three major parts: math, critical reading, and writing. It’s not required that we take the SAT but almost every college needs your score when you apply. The test is a grueling three hours and 45 minutes, usually running over four hours, and starts bright and early on a Saturday morning. Some students may take it three or four times to try and achieve their desired score. This test greatly puzzles the juniors who are taking it. It does not in any way measure our intelligence in the subjects we’ve been trying to master since first grade. Most vocabulary words on the test we have honestly never heard before.
Why don’t we learn these words in school? I think that an SAT elective should be offered in school, that way we can master the test without paying hundreds of dollars for a tutor. But let’s not forget, all of the innumerable emails from thecollegeboard.com encouraging us to get the SAT question of the day sent to our email, or to download the application onto our phones. I was thinking about sending that to my parent’s email, just so they would get a feel of what we go through every time we sit down with the big and blue, SAT book – or as some students joke, “the Bible.”
Junior year has been pretty expensive – to sign up for the SAT tests it averages to about $47, and SAT Subject tests are $21 per registration (colleges prefer you send three). The ACTs are $48 to register. None of this includes a tutor, which average price for a tutor is about $80 an hour. Some students have been with their tutor for months until they get the score they strive for.
In addition to the tests we need for college admission, we also have our schoolwork to do. Regents and finals are very important to ace before the end of the year in hopes it will boost our grade and hopefully attain the GPA we’ve been working towards all year.
On a positive note, we can’t wait to see all of our hard work pay off once we get accepted into the college our parents or we’ve been dreaming of next October. Hopefully everything will work out as we finish off this year. With all of the distractions with the warm weather approaching, and some of the juniors lucky enough to have their full license, we need to keep focused and work as hard as we can, because apparently this is … “the most important year of our lives.”