As a rising senior in high school, you may have a variety of tasks to complete over the summer to prepare for the college application process. Here are some common tasks that you can consider:
- Create a college list: Research and compile a list of colleges and universities that you are interested in applying to. Consider factors such as location, size, academic programs, extracurricular activities, and campus culture.
- Visit college campuses: If possible, plan visits to the campuses of the colleges on your list. This will give you a firsthand experience of the campus environment and help you determine if it’s a good fit for you.
- Prepare for standardized tests: Determine whether you need to take the SAT, ACT, or any other standardized tests required by the colleges on your list. Register for upcoming test dates and develop a study plan to prepare for the exams.
- Request letters of recommendation: Identify teachers, counselors, or other mentors who can write strong letters of recommendation for your college applications. Reach out to them early, providing them with any necessary information or forms they may need.
- Write your college essay: Begin brainstorming and drafting your college essay. Reflect on your experiences, values, and aspirations, and consider how you can convey your unique story and voice through your writing.
- Research scholarships and financial aid: Start exploring scholarship opportunities and financial aid options available to you. Look for both local and national scholarships and make note of their application deadlines.
- Complete the Common Application or other application platforms: Familiarize yourself with the Common Application or any other application platforms that your target colleges use. Start filling out the basic information and work on the sections that don’t require school-specific details.
- Pursue summer activities: Engage in meaningful summer activities such as internships, volunteer work, or academic programs that align with your interests and demonstrate your commitment to personal and academic growth.
- Prepare for college interviews: If colleges you’re applying to offer interviews, research common interview questions and practice your responses. Review your application materials and be prepared to discuss your achievements, goals, and reasons for choosing that particular college.
- Create a timeline and stay organized: Develop a timeline or checklist to help you stay organized throughout the college application process. Note important deadlines, such as application submission dates and financial aid deadlines, to ensure you don’t miss any crucial steps.
Benefits of summer Internship:
- Exploration of Interests: A summer internship provides an opportunity to explore potential career interests and gain exposure to different industries or fields. It allows high school juniors to experience real-world work environments and gain insights into various professions. This can help them make more informed decisions about their future career paths.
- Skill Development: Internships offer a chance to develop and enhance valuable skills. Whether it’s communication, teamwork, problem-solving, or technical skills specific to a particular industry, interns can acquire practical experience that will benefit them in their academic and professional lives. These skills can set them apart from their peers and provide a foundation for future success.
- Networking: Internships often provide opportunities to network with professionals in the field. Building relationships with mentors, supervisors, and colleagues can open doors for future job prospects, mentorship opportunities, or letters of recommendation. Networking is a crucial aspect of career development, and starting early can be highly advantageous.
- Resume Enhancement: A summer internship can significantly enhance a high school junior’s resume. It demonstrates initiative, work ethic, and a commitment to learning. Having relevant work experience at this stage can make a student’s resume stand out when applying for college or future internships and jobs. Employers and college admissions officers often value practical experience and look for well-rounded applicants.
- Self-Discovery: Internships allow high school juniors to learn more about themselves, their strengths, and areas they may need to improve. They can discover their interests, passions, and talents by immersing themselves in real-world work experiences. This self-discovery can inform their educational and career choices, leading to greater personal fulfillment and alignment with their goals.
- Personal Growth: Summer internships provide opportunities for personal growth and development. Students learn to manage their time, meet deadlines, and handle responsibilities independently. They also gain exposure to workplace dynamics, professionalism, and the importance of adaptability and resilience. These experiences foster maturity and help prepare them for the challenges of the future.
- Competitive Advantage: In today’s competitive landscape, having a summer internship on one’s resume can be a differentiating factor. It shows initiative, ambition, and a proactive attitude toward learning and personal growth. This advantage can be valuable when applying to colleges, scholarships, or future internships and jobs, as it demonstrates a commitment to success beyond the classroom.
Senior Year College Prep Checklist:
August – The following task must have been completed in August:
- Colleges list applications in various categories.
- Completed all the virtual or personal campus visits.
- Make a list of supplemental college essays.
- Brainstorm the common app essay.
- Register for SAT or ACT if you plan to take it in the Fall.
- Research the scholarship and apply.
September – The following task must be completed by the month of September:
- Meeting with a college counselor to discuss the final college list, essay, AP courses, and extracurricular activities.
- Send the recommendation letter to the teachers and college advisor.
- Apply for the additional scholarship.
- Start writing the Common App essay and supplemental essays.
- Create a spreadsheet of colleges to track the application deadlines etc.
- Prepare for FSFSA application.
- Attend the Financial Aid workshop.
- Decide and list the colleges for Early Decision, Early Action, and regular decision.
October – The month of October gets crazy, school homework, regular tests, sports, etc. have started. It’s very important to keep track of activities in the month of October. The following tasks should be accomplished in the month of October: Complete SAT or ACT test if you plan to take it again.
- Send the reminder or recommendation link to all teachers.
- Complete the Common App essay and get the final review.
- Update the spreadsheet with the application deadline.
- Update the common App application.
- 6 complete the Common App activities questions.
- Write the final supplemental essay draft.
- Ensure all the essays are complete by the last week of October if you plan for EA or ED.
- Complete the FAFSA® as early as possible as some aid is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Review your SAR (Student Aid Report) to ensure all information is correct. Complete the CSS Profile™.
- Request the transcript sent to colleges.
To learn more about ACT, SAT, or SAT vs ACT comparative test, or if you are preparing for a standardized test and would like to score a practice test download the free e-book “Strategies to Prepare ACT in an Effective Way“.