Stressors of junior year


Piper Baxley

Students often feel especially stressed during junior year due to trying to balance post-high school preparation, challenging coursework, jobs and more.

Amanda Booth, Staff Writer & Photographer

Throughout junior year, there is a plethora of different pressures. With having large standardized tests like the SAT or the ACT, homework and decisions for college or what to do in adulthood. There can be many reasons why students are stressed during their junior year of high school.


In general, students want to do well on large tests. If students want to go to college, the SAT and ACT can be a big factor in where they are able to attend.
The tests allow students to show knowledge on various subjects and on topics learned in previous classes throughout their careers in middle and high school.
On March 1, every junior that attends Hayes took the SAT.
In preparation, math and English teachers went over topics that are seen on the test.
“This year what I am focusing on is Khan Academy and there are diagnostic tests that students can take to see what they know and what they don’t,” math teacher Richard Hunt said.
Students throughout Hayes worked on studying for the SAT.
“I think the most stressful aspect about this year is the SAT, because it’s a big test for the state and I think most individuals want to do well,” junior Mia Sosa said.
Students are given this test for free through the school, but if the student wants to retake it, then it costs $60.
Large tests in general could be the root of students’ stress. According to a study done by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, cortisol (a steroid hormone that affects your adrenal glands) can spike for some children on testing days. This can cause them to disengage from the material given to them.

Extracurricular activities

Other than having a job, many students are in sports, volunteer programs and many more.
For example, Sosa is a competitive dancer.
“[For dance] it’s all year ‘round from right after school till nine o’clock,” Sosa said.
Having a large amount of extracurricular activities can affect sleep patterns, stress levels and even cause anxiety and depression.

Decisions about college

Another possible source of stress during junior year is decisions about what to do after graduation.
During junior year, teachers, counselors and parents push the question of what students are going to do after they graduate.
Lots of students go on college visits and explore their possibilities on where to go.
Around 63% of Ohio students go straight into college after high school graduation. This shows that during junior and senior year, students look for their different options on where to attend college.
“I feel like this year is [stressful because] you have to start thinking about your future, college and what you want to do,” junior Natalie Fiant said.
Junior year can be stressful for many students for multiple reasons, but even with big tests and full schedules, “it’s definitely doable if you try your hardest,” Hunt said.