Ahh summer! Just the thought of June, July and August evoke images of beaches, sand and deck chairs. While hours of relaxation may be a temptation, extra unscheduled time can also be used to work on a variety of tasks that will ultimately assist you in the College Search & Admissions process. Taking a few steps each month will really help prevent you having to make a mad dash at the end.
While you may think you just finished sophomore year and the college decision is a long way off, decision time will be here before you know it. Here are a few tasks that you can work into your summer schedule that will put you on the right track for your Junior Year and get you rolling on the College Admission process.
1. Time Management will be a key component to your success this year. Spend some time thinking about how you will manage academics, extra-curricular activities and free time. Look around for planners, apps or organizers that help you be balanced and successful.
2. You are about to begin the a big research project called "Colleges." You will be visiting, taking virtual tours on websites, examining brochures and comparing details. One way to get your feet wet before things get too serious is to Visit your First Campus as a part of a family vacation, take a road trip with friends, or scheduling a tour at a college close to home. This will give you a baseline idea of what to expect from campus visits and it will give you ideas for setting up a system to records your notes and opinions when you are on college tour 2, 3, 4 and 5.
3. Draft or update your High School Resume. Log all the school, community and work activities you have done in your high school years. Don't forget to include leadership roles and honors you have received. Whether you use a paper or electronic format, keep it readily accessible so you can update it every 3-4 months. This information will be used on college and scholarship applications and you will be glad to have done it now rather than eighteen months from now!
4. Strike a balance between work and summer fun. It is summer, you have to play a little, but you can still find time to process a few chapters in an SAT prep book, or tackle a few books on the AP reading list. Perhaps you take part in a mission trip, coach baseball to ten-year olds, or get a part time job bagging groceries. These are all opportunities to discover new skills and learn independence. Who knows, these experiences may turn into great topics for colleges application essays?
Think of each day as an opportunity. You can sit on the couch, play video games, or spend an afternoon on your phone texting friends. But do you want to spend eight to twelve weeks doing this? If you don't organize and plan your time, summer can slip by with not a lot getting accomplished.
Rising juniors, make a commitment to yourself to tackle at least two of the items on this list before returning to school. You'll be glad you did!