How Juniors Can Make The Most Of Winter Break

Most high school students spend weeks looking forward to winter break, and for good reason: it provides some much-needed rest and relaxation after a busy fall semester. This is especially true for 11th-graders, as junior year is often the busiest for students. High school juniors are balancing an increasingly challenging academic workload, extracurriculars, and now, the considerations of the college admissions process. The most important thing for students to do during the break is to allow themselves to recharge! Overly ambitious students risk burning themselves out and jeopardizing their physical and mental health. That being said, winter break is also a great opportunity for juniors to take advantage of their free time that they don’t have while school is in session to start planning ahead for the college admissions process!

While college applications can be intimidating, it’s essential that high school juniors start looking towards the future now to avoid unnecessary stress later on. Winter break is a great time to focus on this without the stress of classwork! Here are some things that juniors can do to get ahead of the admissions curve.

Prepare for the ACT or SAT

Junior year, one of the most important things that you can do for the college admissions process is take the ACT or SAT. Winter break is a perfect time to make a test prep plan.

If you aren’t sure where to start with test prep, The Enrichery can help! Just plan ahead and give yourself time to complete our 16-week program. We encourage juniors to sign up for test prep as soon as possible. 


Volunteer experience is incredibly important for college applications. Not only does winter break give students more time to volunteer, but there are many more opportunities available this time of year from an uptick in seasonal events hosted by charitable organizations. Students might volunteer with a food bank, church, animal shelter, and more. 

It’s always good to have volunteer experience on your college application, but colleges favor applicants who show a clear passion, and it’s even better if your volunteer experience reflects that! Try to find volunteer opportunities that are consistent with some of your passions and interests.

Get to WORK! 

Like volunteering, work experience also reflects well on a college application. Regardless of how trivial a part-time job might seem, working while in high school shows admissions officers that a student is mature, responsible, and capable of effectively managing their time. If you don’t already have a part-time job, this is a great time to start looking! If you do, you might think about picking up a few extra shifts – who wouldn’t want that extra cash in their pocket?

Similarly, this is also a perfect time to start researching internship opportunities. These will allow students to gain real-world work experience that is more geared towards their goals. While researching internships, students should pay attention to any upcoming application deadlines!

Research Majors and Career Options

For many students, choosing a college major is daunting. When you’re only 16 years old, the question “What do you want to do with the rest of your life?” might make your blood run cold – it did for me! While considering your major, remember that this choice doesn’t necessarily lock in your future career; many people change their majors in college, and you might end up working in an unrelated field after graduation.

However, it’s still important to at least start considering your major and potential career path before beginning the college application process. The field of study you’re interested in can easily influence the colleges you apply to, and when completing applications, many schools ask you to explain why you’re interested in your first-choice major. Things to consider when researching potential majors include the causes you’re passionate about, the people you look up to, and the academic subjects you’ve enjoyed most.

Start Building Your School List  

On the topic of research, if you haven’t started building your college list, this is a great time to start! Start off as broadly as possible and include every school you might be interested in – you can narrow it down from there. Factors to consider include location, size, academic offerings, admissions criteria, and size. 

As you research, sign up for mailing lists from schools that you’re interested in! You don’t want to miss out on anything important from what could be your dream school. Additionally, consider planning a few visits; spring break is a great time for these.

There are a LOT of factors to consider when planning to apply to college, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by it all. At The Enrichery, we want to eliminate as much stress from the process as possible. Remember what I said about starting now to avoid stress later? That’s true for the applications themselves, too! Our College Admissions Workshops ensure that applications are finished and submitted over the summer – before senior year even starts! We’re here to help streamline the admissions process, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

Happy holidays!