Rising juniors, summer break is the perfect time to think about your college process. You’ll have the time to make a list of the things you’ll want to focus on for your journey from high school to college admission.
PLAN A TESTING SCHEDULE
Plan ahead by looking at the SAT and ACT test dates and registration deadlines for the upcoming school year. Think about your commitments and choose test dates that don’t conflict with any of your own personal obligations. Talk to your parents to clear the test dates you’re considering with your family calendar as well.
BEGIN TEST PREP
Sign up for SAT Question of the Day and ACT Question of the Day. Consider the test prep choices available to you. Options include: independent study, using review books and online programs and group classes at your high school, local library or community center. If you plan to work with a tutor, research your options— ask your guidance counselor, teachers, friends and classmates for recommendations.
BUILD YOUR PERSONAL PROFILE
Think about how you spend your time outside the classroom and what you enjoy. Identify activities you would like to deepen your commitment to and which new ones you’d like to explore.
Create a list of your extracurricular activities thus far, including clubs, athletics, community service, and work and summer experiences. Also, list awards and competitions in which you’ve participated. Keep this list up to date, as you’ll need this information when the time comes to define yourself to college admissions committees in the activities section of the Common App and through your essays
BEGIN RESEARCHING SCHOOLS
Familiarize yourself with the different types of schools— urban, suburban and rural; small, medium and large; public and private; and liberal arts and research oriented schools. Although most schools are not in full swing, summertime campus visits can help you get a feel for the many options available.
Talk to friends and family members who’ve been through the college process. Buy or borrow from the library a search book such as the Fiske Guide to Colleges to get basic admissions facts and commentary from students. Start your online research by looking at individual school websites. Look through the admissions and financial aid sections and explore academic programs, course offerings and majors. Learn about campus life by reading about clubs, activities, special events and athletics. Follow blogs for helpful information and resources.
DO SOMETHING INTERESTING
Read. Work. Intern. Volunteer. Travel. Study at a university. Participate in a research project. Summer is the time to further expand your interests and to have new experiences too.