For the junior class who will soon be high school seniors, this is a busy time. Exams are approaching and the school year is almost over. This summer will be filled with many exciting possibilities. Now is the time to begin planning and creating a list of colleges to apply to in the fall. It is also the time to review your high school activities and develop a resume of your non-academic accomplishments. For the soon to be high school senior, EFC PLUS has compiled a few tips to review and maybe accomplish this summer.
1. Get a job
Being employed at a job is a wonderful learning experience and because many of our first jobs are at the ground level they are great teaching moments. These experiences are often not realized until later in life. Having a job is also a great time to learn and understand how to budget money. The money from a job may supplement the cost of tuition, books or just extra spending money needed for college.
This is a great time in your life to volunteer at a company or organization. It can be extremely helpful in determining if you really like the career you are considering for your college major. It is also a great opportunity to show how responsible you can be. Volunteering can also turn into a great college essay for your college admission.
3. Take a SAT/ACT course
Many juniors will already have taken either the ACT or SAT standardized test. Take time this summer to review you SAT/ACT score. If you are not happy with your score, consider taking a SAT/ACT course to improve your scores. Improving your score can be achieved through a lot of avenues such as test prep courses, free on-line practice tests and personal tutors.
4. Review your high school resume.
Does it show leadership in any of your activities? If not, see if you can become involved in an activity this summer where leadership is needed and can be demonstrated. It does not need to be on a grand scale, just use your imagination.
5. Visit Colleges
Now is the time to explore all your possibilities. Don’t limit yourself. This summer visit any colleges that you may be interested in attending. Try to determine your desired preferences such as campus setting, size, distance from home, and strength of academic programs to name a few. Important offices to visit on your trip are the admissions, career and financial office, residence halls and cafeteria.
6. Research Schools Online
Explore college websites and get a feel of the school. If you have any specific questions, call the admission office. They are always happy to answer your questions. There has been an increase in social media programs such as SCOIR.com. These programs allow you to connect with internal programs or activities of a college, directly. Having a better insight on your favorite activities may help you find a better fit.
7. Know Your Deadlines
During your college visits read the brochures and understand the college deadlines for admissions and financial aid. The earlier you prepare the easier your senior year will be and the less stressful. Making a calendar of your deadlines is an important part of your planning. This is critical for the senior who has a fall activity that is part of their high school life. Many colleges have fall open houses. It is recommended that you mark them down. A summer visit is good but an in-session visit should be part of your calendar especially if you are not certain of a college.
8. Essay Time
As you relax this summer, begin to think about the essays on your college admission application. What makes you unique and different from your peers? Take an inventory of your strengths. When you are finally ready to begin writing, you will have some ideas already stored away.
9. Talk to your Peers, Family and Alumni
Getting information from someone who went to a college can be insightful. Ask them about the campus, students, extra-curricular activities, major, internships and job possibilities. Different perspectives are helpful. This may include both favorable and negative experiences. You can always learn from other people.
10. Take the time to explore Major/Careers
Summer is a great time to read and research careers that might interest you. The government also has a website Career One Stop if you want to explore careers online. Here is the link:
I also like to recommend trying to talk to someone in that career or see if you can shadow someone for a day. Use your parent’s, family and friends to setup casual meetings about your career options.
11. Have fun and ask for help!
Most importantly, you should enjoy the summer! Life goes quickly, so find time to relax and have some fun! Remember, your parents and college counselors are great resources. Go to them for direction and help!