You might be wondering what the most difficult year of high school is and how you should handle it (spoiler alert: it's usually junior year).
If you’re curious about why high school is hard, and interested in getting some tips, we've got you covered! To help you be successful in high school without making it too difficult or overwhelming, we talked to Michelle McAnaney of The College Spy. Here’s what you’ll learn in the article below:
- What is the most difficult year of high school?
- Why is junior year the most difficult year of high school?
- How can you have a successful junior year?
- How do you ace junior year / high school without the stress?
- How can you alleviate stress and advocate for yourself in high school?
- How to maximize a campus visit
- How to set yourself for success as a junior in high school
- Tips for rising 9th graders
- About The College Spy
Don't feel like reading?Watch the full interview here:
Our college admissions expert today is Michelle McAnaney from The College Spy. Michelle has 20 years of experience working with students to help them reach their full potential. She has a lot of knowledge on colleges and what the admissions process is like, so she works toward getting students into their best fit schools.
Her extensive admissions knowledge is coupled with firsthand experience with the colleges and universities students will be considering for their applications. Michelle tells students and families that the best way to get to know a college is to visit, and she holds herself to the same standard. She visits approximately 40 colleges each year (not during the pandemic, of course), attending information sessions and open houses, taking tours and meeting with admissions officers.
What is the most difficult year of high school?
Although some people might find that freshman year of high school is challenging, junior year would typically be the most difficult, busy, and important year because of everything you have to juggle from academics, extracurricular activities, and college preparation to still keeping a social life.
Why is junior year the most difficult year of high school?
You may already be used to what high school is like, but junior year is the year that you really start to think about the college process. For the most part, you’ll be taking your most difficult classes and preparing for standardized tests, so it can be stressful because colleges will be looking at these grades and scores.
How can you have a successful junior year?
Starting junior year might be intimidating, but you should still consider taking some advanced classes like APs or IB classes. This can be a good challenge for you, and it can show what you’re capable of as a student.
Regarding academics and activities, Michelle told us:
“Adding academic rigor can be helpful in terms of getting into college. So for some students, that's taking their first honors course or AP course, for other students it's taking a full load of AP courses. And my other advice is around extracurricular activities which is to be involved in things that you're interested in. And if you're not sure what you're interested in, try new things to figure that out.”
Michelle went on to succinctly summarize just why junior year is the most important year of high school, even if it might not be the most difficult for you:
“Junior year is the most indicative year of how you will do in college."
How do you ace junior year of high school without the stress?
No matter how important this time may be, it’s equally as important to destress and not get so caught up in all the work. It’s a good thing to know that anything can change down the road, so don’t pressure yourself and feel like you need to have everything figured out, especially at such a young age.
As Michelle says:
“I help students understand that nothing in life is set in stone 100%, you can start one place and end up somewhere else. And you can start thinking you wanted one thing and change your mind. That's okay!”
How can you alleviate stress and advocate for yourself in high school?
Your school guidance counselor can be very helpful to you, so you should reach out to them if you ever feel like you need help. Michelle encourages you to do some networking with different people, like teachers, counselors, friends, acquaintances, etc.
Don’t be afraid to take the initiative and ask teachers questions or go to extra help. It’s important to be active and engaged, so reach out to others and express your interests, especially if you need to ask your teachers for recommendation letters.
How to maximize a college campus visit
When we're not living in a pandemic, it’s helpful to visit one school in a day That way you can truly absorb everything about the school. Going on college tours and paying attention to information sessions are obviously very valuable.
But to see if you would actually enjoy living on a particular college campus, trythe following:
- Spend some time in libraries
- Go to the dining halls
- Look at dorm rooms
- Visit classrooms
As Michelle suggests, here are some specific questions to ponder when you're on a college campus visit:
I advise students to spend time in the dining hall and eat there and sit down and say “Would I fit in with these other students here?” “Would I feel comfortable sitting at a table with some of the people who I see here?” “Are people happy?” “Are they talking to each other?” “Are they looking at their phones?” things like that and I encourage students to go to the library and sit down “Would I feel comfortable here ?” “Is this where I want to be studying?”
Additionally, you can visit Michelle’s resources section of her website for a list of questions you should be able to answer after a college visit. It’s also good to identify a few of the things that you are really looking for in a school and some of the things you wouldn’t want in a school.
How to set yourself for success as a junior in high school
Since junior year is a busy time, you should try to stay organized and work on managing your time more efficiently. You’ll probably have more assignments and deadlines, so keeping track of everything and making sure you finish your work on time is important.
Some of the tips Michelle has are:
- Spend time making a commitment to do what is actually meaningful to you (i.e. get rid of the distractions!)
- Start your college research at the beginning of junior year or even sooner
- Create and write down academic and extracurricular goals
Setting goals for yourself can be extremely helpful, especially if you write them down to actually make a commitment to them. Michelle says,
“It could be simple things like make sure to get extra help twice for math or always review my notes before tests.” But it all depends on you and what you want your school year to look like."
Tips for rising 9th graders
While junior year is often the hardest year of high school, the transition from middle school to 9th grade can also be tough. To make it easier, don't feel afraid to reach out to your teachers and counselors, and take advantage of the support resources that are available. And an easy way to meet new people and make new friends is to get involved in clubs or extracurricular activities that you are genuinely interested in.
As Michelle puts it:
“I'm always encouraging students to get involved from their point of view. It will help you get into college but It'll also just make your high school experience better, more dynamic, and more interesting.”
About The College Spy
The College Spy helps students explore and get accepted into the colleges that are the best fit for them. Michelle visits many different colleges, so she is able to use this knowledge to help students figure out what they’re looking for in a school.
“I can match students with colleges that are good fit for them and their goals, their academic needs, their personal needs, the financial, considering all of these things. I do know a lot about colleges in particular and then I have a lot of expertise behind admissions and how things work in the admissions office and how students can tailor their applications to help maximize their chance of acceptance.”
So if you’re struggling with high school work and college, remember that there are different ways to get some help. Talk to your teachers and counselors, and if you have access to other resources, make sure to use them!
Junior year is a very important year for college admissions. But overall, you should work hard with academics and extracurriculars (don’t put too much pressure on yourself though!)
Which year in high school is the hardest? ›
While junior year is often the hardest year of high school, the transition from middle school to 9th grade can also be tough. To make it easier, don't feel afraid to reach out to your teachers and counselors, and take advantage of the support resources that are available.What year is the easiest in high school? ›
Going into high school, many students hear that freshman year is the “easiest” year. Some think that colleges don't consider it as much as they do one's sophomore, junior, and senior years. While this is typically true, it doesn't mean that students should entirely dismiss the importance of their freshman year.Why is 11th grade the hardest year? ›
11th grade is the hardest year in high school, because it's the year right before applying to college, where your grades and the rigor of the classes you take are very important, because they are usually the most recent grades colleges see.What year of high school matters the most? ›
The freshman year is the most important year of high school and a crucial chance for a fresh start. Strong students can quickly fall off course if they start cutting classes and blowing off homework.What is the most stressful school year? ›
While each year of high school will have its own stressors, many will say junior year is the most challenging. Junior year can be the hardest for several reasons, but with the right prep and expectations, high school students can make the hardest year just a little easier.Is 11th harder than 10th? ›
11th is very different in terms of the course content as compared to what you have studied till 10th. Difficulty level is higher if you have chosen the science stream as now it is no more general science. 11th grade will teach you concepts of fundamental physics, chemistry, biology, maths etc.Which grade is harder in high school? ›
The reality is that Grade 11 is, for most, the hardest academic year of high school. This isn't because the content you're learning is so much harder than anything you've learnt before but because you: have more content to cover than ever before.What grade are most 15 year olds in? ›
|Age||UK Years||US/International Grades|
|13 - 14||Year 9||8th Grade|
|14 - 15||Year 10||9th Grade (Freshman)|
|15 - 16||Year 11||10th Grade (Sophomore)|
|16 - 17||Year 12 / Lower 6th||11th Grade (Junior)|
so if you fail any subject there will be guardian calling, school may not allow to promote you to class 12, now some of the school take re test, if you qualify in retest you may got promoted in 12.
How much harder is Year 12 than Year 11? ›
Is year 12 content much more difficult than year 11? To be completely honest, the really overwhelming and difficult part of year 12 tends to be the pressure and the intensity of the study that you might come up against. The difference between the difficulty of the actual content is going to vary between subjects.Is 9th grade harder than 10th? ›
However, when compared together, Class 9 is a little bit more difficult than Class 10, making Class 10 easier than 9th.What year do grades really matter? ›
Arguably, the most critical year for grades is the 3rd year, or junior year, because these grades are the most recent and will give colleges the best picture of a student's abilities.Why is 9th grade so important? ›
Experiencing ninth grade as the culminating year of middle school, rather than the bottom rung of high school, can be a great way for students to cement fundamental skills and build the confidence to move on and have a successful high school experience.Is Grade 9 GPA important? ›
The miraculously predictive power of freshman year grades
A recent study from the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research found that students' ninth grade GPAs closely predict how students do later in high school, enrollment in college, and even completion of the first year of college.
And while high school is full of new experiences, many of which can cause students stress, junior year has a reputation as the most stressful of the four years of high school.Which year is the best year of high school? ›
While all the years of high school are important, junior year is definitely one that stands out for many reasons, and for college-bound teens, it may be the most important year of their high school career.How hard is Grade 10? ›
Grade 10 is an important transition year. You are required to do fewer subjects but the workload and difficulty of the subjects that you keep often increases. Sometimes, students who have done well in grade 8 and 9 struggle in grade 10 due to the increased difficulty.Can you be 16 in 11th grade? ›
Eleventh grade, 11th grade, junior year, or grade 11 (called Year 12 in Wales and England and fifth form in Jamaica) is the eleventh, and for some countries final, grade of secondary schools. Students are typically 16–17 years of age, depending on the country and the students' birthdays.Is 9th harder than 8th? ›
Probably 9th.. bcz d difficulty level goes much up as compared to 8th..
Is 8th grade harder than 7th? ›
Seventh grade is a little bit easier than 8th grade because is more of an introduction into middle school, so they aren't required to do as much work as 8th graders. The 8th graders are preparing for high school, so we have to do more to be ready for all of the work that high school will make us do.Why is grade 11 so important? ›
This grade is important because it is one step toward your final year in High School (Matric). You must invest in your Grade 11 studies to make it to Matric. If you do well in Matric, you will be able to advance your career through university studies or entry-level employment.What is the hardest grade to pass? ›
It's the worse year because of pressure academically: socially, and mentally. 11th grade has to be the hardest grade because it is what determines your class rank when you graduate and your ACT and SAT scores start to become recognized, as well as colleges looking at your grades before admission.Why is freshman year so hard? ›
Freshman year can be tough for many students. Adjusting to high school, learning who you are, and trying to figure out how to balance everything can make it hard to excel in the classroom.How old are grade 10s in Canada? ›
|Starting age||Canada||United States|
|14-15||Grade 9||Grade 9|
|15-16||Grade 10||Grade 10|
|16-17||Grade 11||Grade 11|
|17-18||Grade 12||Grade 12|
Should I set consequences for a bad grade? The short answer is: the consequences should be appropriate. Many parents threaten to take their child out of sports or extracurricular activities, but this isn't an effective solution.Can you be 19 in the 12th grade? ›
United States. The twelfth grade is the twelfth school year after kindergarten. It is also the last year of compulsory secondary education, or high school. Students are often 17–18 years old, and on rarer occasions, can be 19 years old.Is Grade 13 a thing in Canada? ›
The Ontario education system had five years of secondary education, the fifth year known as "grade 13" from 1921 to 1988. Then, grade 13 was replaced in 1993 by the OAC for students starting high school (grade 9). The OAC continued to act as a fifth year of secondary education until it was phased out in 2003.What grade is a 14 year old in Korea? ›
|8th grade||14 (15)|
|9th grade||15 (16)|
|10th grade||16 (17)|
|12-13||1 (7th)||Junior high school/Lower secondary school (中学校 chūgakkō) Compulsory Education|
|15-16||1 (10th)||The upper-secondary course of special training school|
What grades are failed? ›
At most colleges, a final grade below 60% qualifies as a failing grade. Depending on your college's GPA scale, that can mean anything below a 1.0 or 0.7 GPA counts as a failed class.How can I skip 11th grade? ›
- You send in a written request. ...
- You meet with professionals. ...
- There is a review of your child's academic achievement or test scores. ...
- Educators meet with your child. ...
- Officials evaluate your child's emotional and social readiness.
You'll usually need to receive a letter grade between A and D to pass a class, often the numerical equivalent of 65 percent or higher. Receiving an F—which stands for “fail”—indicates that you did not pass the class. The cutoff to receive an F is usually 64 percent.Is 11th or 12th grade harder? ›
Hi 11th standard is comparatively tougher than 12th. so before starting 11th class go through the basics and formulas related to 11th class and try to solve questions of math, physics, chemistry from NCERT book.What grade should a 12 year old be in Canada? ›
Secondary education is generally for kids 12 to 18 years old. This group usually includes Grades 7 to 12.Does year 10 matter? ›
Year 10 is the most important year for students to consolidate their conceptual knowledge and skills before the start of Year 11.Is it OK to be 15 in the 9th grade? ›
The typical age for U.S. 9th grade students is 14 to 15 years.Is it OK to fail 9th grade? ›
Answer. It depends on the school in which you are studying whether they will promote you to the 10th class or not. You may need to contact your school authorities. Most of the schools in India promote students to the 10th class and you need not to worry because 9th standard examination are not board examination.Can a 13 turn 14 in 9th grade? ›
Students in 9th grade (first year of high school) are 14 to 15 years old. Another term used for 9th grade in the United States is “freshman.” This means that the student is in their first year of high school and applies to the first year of college as well.What grade is most common? ›
A is by far the most common grade on both four-year and two-year college campuses (more than 42 percent of grades). At four-year schools, awarding of A's has been going up five to six percentage points per decade and A's are now three times more common than they were in 1960.
What year did they get rid of grade 13? ›
The Ontario education system had five years of secondary education, known as Grade 13 from 1921 to 1988; grade 13 was replaced by OAC for students starting high school (grade 9) in 1984. OAC continued to act as a fifth year of secondary education until it was phased out in 2003.What grade do colleges look at the most? ›
Your junior year grades are essential: it's the grade a college will look at most, along with your senior year. Your grades predetermine your academic performance for your final year. Your GPA and the “sturdiness” of it matters.Is Grade 9 better than a *? ›
The new GCSE grading scale is not directly equivalent to the old one but the Department of Education have made the following comparisons: Grade 9 is the highest grade and will be awarded to fewer students than the old A*.How do you survive 9th grade? ›
- Be prepared and organized.
- Manage your time well.
- Complete assignments.
- Be in school, on time, everyday.
- Use your time wisely.
- Participate in class.
- Show respect to yourself, classmates, and teachers.
- Take good notes.
Freshman Year (9th grade) Sophomore Year (10th grade) Junior Year (11th grade) Senior Year (12th grade)Do Canadian universities look at GPA? ›
What is the minimum GPA required to get admission in Canada University? Ans. To get admission as an international student in Canada University, students should require a minimum of a letter grade of B or a GPA above 2.67. Ques.Does Harvard care about 9th grade? ›
Do grade 9 grades matter? Pretty much every college will see your teen's grades from the first year of high school as part of their transcript review. Even universities that emphasizes tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade grades when they evaluate applicants for admission will still see ninth grade marks on transcripts.What's the average GPA for a 12th grader? ›
What is the Average GPA in High School in 2023? The average GPA in US High Schools is 3.0. This number varies by gender – the average female GPA is 3.1 and the average male GPA is 2.9.What is the hardest class in high school? ›
- Physics 1. As one of the hardest high school classes, this course includes not only algebra but also scientific inquiry and physics. ...
- Environmental Science. ...
- Chemistry. ...
- U.S. Government and Politics. ...
- U.S. History. ...
- Human Geography. ...
- European History. ...
In 2009, 13% of students were taking a rigorous course schedule. But in 1990, only 5% of students were taking the same level of classes. High school is harder presumably because college is more competitive than ever, as is the job market.
Why is 7th grade the hardest year? ›
The reason, says Powell-Lunder, is a simultaneous onslaught of intense social and academic pressure. Seventh graders also undergo intense cognitive, physical, and emotional changes that unearth uncomfortable contradictions. They aren't little kids anymore, but they aren't big kids yet, either.What is the most failing grade? ›
Traditionally, the grades are A+, A, A−, B+, B, B−, C+, C, C−, D+, D, D− and F, with A+ being the highest and F being lowest.What is the most failed high school class? ›
Algebra is the single most failed course in high school, the most failed course in community college, and, along with English language for nonnative speakers, the single biggest academic reason that community colleges have a high dropout rate.What is the hardest subject ever? ›
What are the hardest degree subjects? The hardest degree subjects are Aerospace Engineering, Law, Chartered Accountancy, Architecture, Chemistry, Medicine, Pharmacy, Psychology, Statistics, Nursing, Physics, Astrophysics, Biomedical Engineering, Astronomy, and Dentistry.What is the most stressful grade in school? ›
And while high school is full of new experiences, many of which can cause students stress, junior year has a reputation as the most stressful of the four years of high school.How old are most 12th graders? ›
United States. The twelfth grade is the twelfth school year after kindergarten. It is also the last year of compulsory secondary education, or high school. Students are often 17–18 years old, and on rarer occasions, can be 19 years old.Why are high schoolers struggling? ›
Educators contacted by EdSource overwhelmingly said that social-emotional issues are the primary reason students are struggling academically. Schools have added therapists, counselors and social workers to help students to deal with emotional issues, often related to the pandemic, so they can get on track academically.Is the 11th grade the hardest? ›
Academically, 11th grade is the most rigorous yet for students aiming for selective colleges. Many load up with Advanced Placement and honors courses. Others will be tempted to improve their chances of a perfect GPA by taking easier courses.Is Grade 7 or 8 harder? ›
Seventh grade is a little bit easier than 8th grade because is more of an introduction into middle school, so they aren't required to do as much work as 8th graders. The 8th graders are preparing for high school, so we have to do more to be ready for all of the work that high school will make us do.Can u be 13 in 7th grade? ›
The seventh grade is the eighth school year, the second or third year of middle school, and the first year of junior high school. Students are around 12-13 years old in this stage of education.
Is 70 good in 7th grade? ›
C - this is a grade that rests right in the middle. C is anywhere between 70% and 79% D - this is still a passing grade, and it's between 59% and 69% F - this is a failing grade.