It’s summer time and I know that you want to relax and have fun in the sun. However, it’s important to not sit idly by while other college bound students are out doing things that will help them stand out in the admissions process. Summer is the perfect time to build up your activities resume. Here are some ideas for your summer activities:
Get a summer job or internship. Getting a job is a great way to gain experience and build your networking skills. It’s also a great way to earn some money that you can put away for college.
Travel. If you’re able to, travel to new areas of the country or the world. Traveling is a great way to meet new people and learn about new areas and cultures. While traveling, visit colleges you may be interested in attending. Take the official campus tour and ask questions while you’re on campus. Visiting a college campus is a great way to figure out if the college is a good fit for you or not.
Volunteer. Do something good for the community. Choose a volunteer activity that is important to you, rather than just picking a volunteer opportunity out of convenience. Many colleges will ask about your community service activities and it impresses Admissions Officers when they see a passion for the work students do. Don’t fake it – Admissions Officers can usually see through it.
Take a summer class. Get a head start and take a college course at your local community college. Not only will you get a feel for what college course expectations are, you’ll get college credit that you can take with you to the college you will attend in the future. Check in with the Transfer Center at the community college to discuss the class you are interested in taking to ensure it will transfer to the colleges you are considering.
Read. Reading is good for you in so many ways. You will continue to grow your vocabulary (great for the SAT) and knowledge. Reading will also help you when it comes to the college essays and interviews. There are many colleges that will ask you what you’ve read and you’ll be able to answer that question. Be diverse with your selection and choose to read nonfiction and fiction. Also, read about current events and issues in the academic fields you will be studying.
Stay ahead of the college admissions game and stay busy over the summer. Everything that you do can help you in the college admissions process – every little bit can help you to get accepted into the college of your dreams.
Join me next time as I discuss planning out your senior year.
In case you missed the other tips for rising seniors:
Above photo credit: Extraordinary Leadership by Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography is licensed under CC by 2.0 | Text added to original.
There’s a trend in college admissions called the “stealth applicant.” These are students that never officially show interest in a college until they actually apply for admission. The students might have visited a college fair and grabbed materials from the Admissions Officer. They may have done an unofficial tour of the college. And, they may have visited the college websites numerous times. But, they never “said” to the college, “I’m interested in you.”
There could be many reasons students choose not to share their interest before the application. I’m here to tell you all of the reasons it’s a good idea to let colleges know you’re interested:
Not all of the above reasons to connect are guaranteed to happen. But, there’s a chance they could happen. Why not put yourself out there and connect with the college? It doesn’t hurt and it’s free.
There are many ways to connect with the institutions. You can do one or all of the suggestions below to connect with a college.
Connecting with colleges is a great way to get as much information about a college a possible. Because college is such a huge investment in time and money, you want to make sure you learn as much as you can. In addition to helping to give you as much information as possible, connecting with the college could potentially help you during the college admission process. Why not check them out and let them know you’re interested?
Join me next time when we discuss summer activities.
Check out the other tips for Rising Seniors:
Congratulations! You have completed your junior year of high school. You are now a senior! You only have one year to go in high school and then you’ll be off to college. I’m sure you are very excited and want to relax and celebrate all summer. Relax and enjoy, but keep your eye on the prize – college.
In my seven part series, I will provide tips that rising seniors can do this summer to get ahead of the college admissions game. Many students will procrastinate when it comes to college admissions and won’t start the process until September when they are back in school. I admit it – I was one of those students back when I was applying to college. I can tell you from experience that senior year is going to be busy! Why not take some of the pressure away by chipping away at the college admissions process during the summer when you have some free time? College is a huge investment in time and money and you don’t want to leave your fate to your rushed process. Take your time in the college admissions process so you can be confident you’re making the right decisions.
Now for the first tip – Build And Narrow Your College List.
Have you started building your college list? Don’t worry if you have not. You’re not alone. Many rising seniors have not really built a college list yet. Sure, there are colleges on the list in their head that are local colleges, the college everyone wants to attend or the college that wins a lot of games. But, that’s not the way to choose a college. You need to really research.
The first thing to do when researching colleges is to get to know yourself and your preferences. What do you want or not want in a college? What do you need and don’t need in a college? Check out my previous post about building your college list for the questions you should ask yourself while building your college list.
After you get to know yourself, build your BIG list of colleges. The BIG list will meet all of your criteria – size, location, majors, etc. You can start researching for this big list by using one of the following college search tools:
You will enter your preferences for college into one of the search engines and it will give you a list of colleges to consider. Most likely, especially if you’re not very specific about location, the search engines will give you a large list of colleges to consider. That’s okay. It’s now time for you to further investigate the colleges.
Share the list with your counselor, teachers, parents and others that you trust, especially if they are knowable about college. Ask for their thoughts and feedback. You should also ask them if there is a college that is not on the list, but should.
Visit the college websites to get further information. Visit not only the main pages of the website, but also Admissions, Majors and Student Activities. Another important place to visit is the Financial Aid page and the Net Price Calculator. The Net Price Calculator will allow you to enter your personal information (grades, test scores, income, etc.) and it will tell you the approximate financial aid you will receive if you attend that particular college. Make sure to share the financial information with your parents and get their thoughts on what the family is willing and able to pay to help you attend college.
Keep notes throughout your research about everything you find. Also, as you start having questions that the websites cannot answer, reach out to the colleges and ask. The Admissions Offices are great places to start because Admission Counselors are trained in most things about their college.
Lastly, as the list gets smaller and smaller, try to visit the colleges that are still on the list, if you haven’t already. College websites are marketing tools that are meant to make you want to attend that particular school. The only way to really know if the college is for you is to visit.
Building your list and narrowing it down is not something that will happen overnight. There is a reason I made it the first tip – it’s going to take some time to narrow it down to the colleges you will ultimately send an application. Your final list will have approximately seven to ten colleges. So, don’t rush building and narrowing down your list, but don’t wait to start until the fall.
Join me next time when I share information about social media and college admissions.