Summer College Prep Ideas for Rising Seniors

Summer is probably your favorite time of the year. In addition to the great weather, you’re probably not in school and free to do whatever you want! It’s a time for relaxation, vacation, and free time. But, if you start your senior year in a few months, you may want to take advantage of your time off. Your senior year is going to be busy! In addition to regular school work, you will also be applying to college. To ease some of the craziness of your senior year, consider doing some of your college prep during the summer. Here are ten things rising seniors can do during the summer to prep for college.

Create your college list

The summer is a great time to continue your college search and finalize your college list. Dig in and do your research into the colleges you are considering. If you are just starting your college search, get to know yourself and what is important to you when choosing a college. Work through your list and start narrowing down your list to the colleges that will receive your application.

Discuss finances

The out-of-pocket cost of attending college is probably one of the biggest factors when you will choose the college you will attend. Sit down with your parents or guardians to discuss how much your family can afford. Learn about your possible Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Although you will not be able to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) until October, you can fill out the FAFSA4Caster now to get an idea about your EFC. As you are researching colleges, make sure to check out the Net Price Calculators to learn about the possible financial aid you will receive if you attend the college.

Connect with colleges

Sign up for college mailing lists to get further information about the institutions. You might also want to follow the colleges you are considering on social media to get a feel for the personality of the college. And, if you have not visited already, visit the colleges you are considering. In addition to learning more about the colleges, your activities with the college will demonstrate your interest in the college. The reason this is important is because demonstrated interest might come into play when institutions are making admission decisions.

Save money

Very few students receive “full-ride” scholarships. Most students will have to pay something out-of-pocket to attend their future college. If you have not secured a summer job, consider looking. Not only will you learn many valuable skills, you’ll be able to save a little money for college.

Gain experience

A summer job is a great way to gain experience. In addition to learning about the specific job, you will also learn other valuable skills such as customer service and working with different personalities. An internship can be a great opportunity to explore the career you are considering. And, volunteering is a great way to spend your free time. Any or all of these activities can be a great experience for you and can be interesting things to share on your college applications.

Clean up social media

Every year there is a story about a student who had their admission rescinded because of something that was found on social media. While these examples are few and far between, it does happen. There are other students who might not have been offered admission because of something the admission committee saw online, but the student never knew. Others might also view social media before making decisions, such as scholarship providers and employers. Review your social media presence and make sure you are proud of everything that is posted.

Create your resume

Resumes or brag sheets are a great way for you to put together all of your accomplishments and activities. You might consider giving your recommendation writers a copy of your resume to help them as they are writing your letters. Colleges may also allow you to submit your resume with your application.

Start your college essays

While college applications may not be available yet, many admission essay prompts have been announced. Start brainstorming and writing your college essays. Starting early will allow you to take your time as you craft your essay and produce something that will help you stand out from the crowd.

Test prep

If you have not taken the SAT OR ACT, or you want to improve your scores, do some test prep before taking the test in the fall. In addition to paid test prep companies, there are many free test prep resources available online.

Apply for scholarship

Outside scholarships can really help students pay for college. Now that you are not in class during the day, you have extra time to look for and apply for scholarship. In addition to the scholarships with summer deadlines, look ahead to scholarships open later in the year. Make an action plan to dedicate some time every week for scholarships.

Take time this summer to check off some of your college admission tasks.

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