I am a junior in high school and fear that I have messed up. In my freshman and sophomore year, I worked very hard to maintain good grades and participate in extracurriculars. I participated in robotics and research and was able to win a variety of awards. When junior year came around, I was in the mindset that I had to do as much as possible. I signed up for a bunch of extracurriculars, decided to hold 3 leadership positions, etc. The stress has been killing me for months. Recently, I had most of my competitions, and I performed poorly in all of them (except for one research competition). Also, my grades have dropped from last year (by about 0.4 on a 100 point scale). It really depresses me that I went through all of the stress for what feels like nothing. As most of the competitions are over now, I plan to start focusing on my passions again (physics and programming). Nonetheless, I feel as if I messed up my competitiveness when it comes to college admissions and I am afraid that I will look back on my junior year with regret. I don't know what to do. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

2 Answers 2


Am I understanding you correctly that your grades dropped form a 100 to a 99.6? I mean a 99.6 is still excellent work unless perfection is your standard. Regarding the extra curricular activities, pick two or three at the most, trying to do too much never works in the long run. I routinely review scholarship applications at the college where I am employed. When I see a long laundry list of activities I often question how much the student really contributed. Many students today seem to be more concerned with resume building through a variety of activities rather than developing, in greater depth a smaller number of activities. Grades still matter but don't try to be perfect, just excellent.


I'm sorry that you've been experiencing so much stress. There is so much pressure today for students.

First, it sounds like you have identified the problem- when you overextend yourself, your performance suffers. So, you did a great job at recognizing that and adjusting your focus/schedule. That's a good move!

Second, your junior year is only one of four years- you will pick up the pieces and your cumulative transcript will look good. So, no worries.

Third, your GPA dropped only a little. Give yourself a break! It sounds like you will still be competitive for college.

Last, some personal experience...I had little direction in high school...and my first two years of college were a little aimless. I got way more behind than you. Fast forward, I have a PhD, was tenured at an R1 (top research) university, and have federal and private funding for my research. The take away? Sometimes we get a little behind and have to catch up, but junior year in high school doesn't define us.

You mentioned feeling depressed. Please talk to someone if you feel like your depression is having a negative affect on your everyday life or if you feel like it may result in problematic behaviors. Good luck!

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