Taking Stock

Written by Lisa Bleich

A young woman taking stock of her schedules as she looks at her laptop while sitting on a gray sofa with a cup of tea on her side.
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

Taking stock of yourself and assessing how you are spending your time and energy is a great thing to prioritize as you plan your schedules for the coming year. Aside from that, it is also an excellent time to set goals for the coming year to shore up areas of weakness and go deeper into your areas of strength.

So how do you know where to focus to prepare yourself for the college application process?

Taking Stock on Your Leadership Skills

Junior year is the year to pursue leadership in whatever you are involved in. If you are an athlete, can you become captain? Or if you are a journalist, can you become editor-in-chief? Similarly, if you are a scout, what do you need to achieve Eagle Scout or the Gold award? Identify what you need to do to achieve your goal and develop a plan.

Assessing Your Academics

Are you challenging yourself enough in your classes? Are you getting the best grades you can, or can a little extra studying help you change that B+ to an A? If you feel there’s something you still need to improve on, additionally setting a goal to improve at least one grade will help.

Evaluating Standardized Tests

Do you do better on the SAT or the ACT? In order to identify which test works better for your test taking skills, set a goal to focus on improving either test. Work on having the equivalent of 50-100 points in the SAT.

Make an Appraisal of Your Extracurricular Activities

Are you enjoying your current activities? If not, how about finding ones that you love? Are you doing enough? Are you doing too much? Set a goal to get involved deeper in something you love. This can mean taking a leadership position or spending more time practicing an instrument.


If you are involved in athletics, then figure out if you want to play in college. As a matter of fact, junior year is the time to start contacting coaches. Take the initial step such as setting a goal to identify target schools. Consequently, start sending out a letter and athletic resume to the team’s coach.

Taking Stock on Your Special Talents

Do you have a special talent? Are you a gifted musician, actor or artist? Do you have a facility with languages? Are you a natural entrepreneur? Whatever your talent is, set a goal to pursue it to the fullest and share your talent with others. Take a risk with your talent by auditioning for a state orchestra or choir or entering a writing contest.

Intellectual Curiosity

Do you have innate curiosity for a particular topic? Do you find yourself researching topics outside of school? If you particularly love science, then identify a way to pursue that further through a summer research opportunity. Develop a plan to learn more.

Look Carefully at Your Financial Situation

Speak with your parents about their financial commitment to your college degree. Have an understanding of how much they are willing to pay and what you will need to contribute. Setting a goal to understand the financial differences among schools and which schools are in your financial reach significantly makes your preparations more effective. Identify schools that can give merit awards.

Why Taking Stock Matters

Four cheerful multiethnic students having high five with their teacher while in a library.
Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels.com

In conclusion, taking stock of oneself and meticulously planning for the future holds paramount importance, especially as one navigates the intricate path toward college applications. If you conduct a comprehensive assessment of where your time, energy, and talents are directed, then you gain invaluable insights into areas ripe for improvement and avenues ready for exploration. This introspective process not only empowers you to set targeted goals but also cultivates a mindset of purposeful growth and self-awareness.

Moreover, by strategically aligning your efforts with aspirations, whether in academics, extracurricular pursuits, athletics, or personal passions, you lay the foundation for a fulfilling and successful journey through junior year and beyond. Each goal set becomes a stepping stone toward realizing your potential, honing your skills, and ultimately crafting a compelling narrative for college applications.

Furthermore, the practice of taking stock fosters resilience and adaptability. As an effect. you’re equipped with the clarity and confidence needed to navigate the complexities of the college application process and beyond. By understanding your strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations, you empower yourself to make informed decisions and seize opportunities that align with your values and aspirations.

In essence, taking stock isn’t merely a matter of planning for the coming year—it’s a transformative process that instills a sense of purpose, direction, and agency in shaping your future. By embracing this practice, you embark on a journey of self-discovery, growth, and empowerment. Consequently, this sets the stage for a fulfilling and prosperous academic and personal journey ahead. So, seize the opportunity to reflect, strategize, and set goals—it’s an investment in yourself that pays dividends for years to come.

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