The school year may be coming to a close, but the college admissions process is just revving up for next semester’s high school seniors. While the summer is a good time to recharge, it’s also a great time to get on track for the college admissions process, no matter what grade you’re in.
When it comes to college preparation, the earlier families start, the better.Colleges consider all four years of a student’s high school transcript, activities, and more, so delaying the college prep process until the end of junior year or beginning of senior year really puts students at a disadvantage. This summer, get a head start and stay on track for a successful fall semester and college admissions season by checking these tasks off your college prep list!
- Start thinking about some of the clubs, sports, or other organizations at your high school that you’ll want to join. If you can get involved this summer, do it!
- Spend some time exploring interests you think you might want to be more involved with. Do some outside reading so you can learn more about those interests.
- High school is an exciting and life-changing experience. Connect with some upperclassmen to gain insight into the ins and outs of your particular high school.
- Make sure to complete any summer reading or other summer homework assignments prior to the start of the semester. You don’t want to start your first year of high school already behind.
- Take some time to reflect on your extracurriculars. Are you enjoying your activities outside of class and do they align with your interests? If not, now’s the time to consider other extracurricular activities you might want to pursue.
- If you enjoy your current extracurriculars, continue involvement with one or two core activities, and consider whether you might be able to take on leadership positions. School may be out, but you can still make plans and come up with project or service ideas for the fall.
- If your school doesn’t offer a club or activity associated with a particular interest of yours, then create your own! Spend the summer drafting a proposal for a new club and find out what you need to do in order to have it approved by your school’s administration.
- Start putting together—or update—your resume. You’ll want to continue updating this throughout the school year with any new activities, accomplishments, and more.
- Continue building your outside reading list. Read at least one or two books, or other publications, this summer.
- If you go on vacation, try to visit a college nearby to get a feel for different campus types and locations.
- Continue building your outside reading list.
- Before the school year is out, schedule a meeting with your counselor to go over your test prep and test taking timeline.
- If you haven’t already, start preparing for the SAT or ACT. Use your downtime this summer to brush up on skills and concepts that you may struggle with.
- How are you spending your summer? Be sure to participate in activities that align with your interests or deepen your involvement in certain organizations.
- Go on one or two summer campus tours at local colleges. It’ll give you a taste for what to expect when visiting colleges in the fall.
- Get organized! Update your resume and start building your balanced college list. Use time this summer to research colleges, learn about different institutions, and determine what qualities of a college are the best fit for your needs and goals.
- Make a plan to visit colleges you haven’t seen yet during the summer. While summer isn’t the best time for a visit since school isn’t in session, it’s a convenient way to get an informal feel for the campus.
- Begin narrowing down your balanced college list. By now you’ve gone on some visits and met with your college counselor, so you should have a good idea of the schools that might not be the best fit for you.
- Get started on your college application essays! Brainstorm some essay topics and develop a writing schedule for your essays so that once the school year starts you’ll have the bulk of your applications completed.
- Stay informed. Changes are coming to the Common Application this fall, so make sure you’re prepared before the application opens August 1. Also, make sure you’re prepared for any admissions trends you may encounter this fall.
- Get organized. Make sure your resume and all your other application materials are ready to go.
- Set goals and an application timeline. Chances are you’re applying to multiple schools, so set a realistic timeline for getting started early and completing them on time. This is especially important if you plan to apply early to your top-choice college.
Still feel like you’re lagging behind in the college preparation process? Our team of expert counselors can help your family develop a plan of action to carry you through high school and the college application process, whether you’re just starting high school or going into your senior year.