Rising juniors, summer break is the ideal time to think about your journey from high school to college. College deadlines may seem far away, but you’ll be busy working on your applications before you know it. Here are a few of the things you can focus on this summer to get ready.
Plan a Testing Schedule: Plan ahead by looking at the SAT and ACT test dates and registration deadlines for the upcoming school year. Consult with your guidance counselor to come up with a plan. Think about your commitments and choose test dates that don’t conflict with any of your own or your family’s obligations.
Begin Your Test Prep: Take a practice SAT and ACT test and decide which test or tests you plan to take. Sign up for the SAT Question of the Day and/or the ACT Question of the Day to help you practice. Consider the test prep choices available to you, including independent study, review books, 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 doing. Identify activities you’d like to deepen your commitment to and which new ones you’d like to explore.
Create a list of your extracurricular activities so far, including clubs, athletics, community service, and work and summer experiences. Also, list awards and competitions in which you’ve participated. Keep your list up to date because you’ll need to provide this information on your applications.
Begin Researching Schools: To get started, talk to friends and family members who’ve been through the college process. Meet with your guidance counselor for direction. Buy or borrow, from the library, a search book to get basic admissions facts and student feedback. Start your online research by reviewing 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. Use the many online websites available and follow college bound blogs for helpful information and resources.
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. Although most colleges are not in full swing, summertime campus visits can help you get a great feel for the school.
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.