Summer break is finally here! Your school year was probably long, hard and full of stress; with AP classes, dual credit classes, finals, writing essays, and even just getting up in the early hours of the morning. This summer should be one full of R&R and fun memories because unfortunately high school doesn’t last forever. However, there is a way to have a fun and productive summer at the same time. Here are some ways to make your summer one of the most productive you’ve had in a while!
1. Study for the ACT or SAT
The summertime is a great time to start practicing and studying for the SATs and ACTs. High school students should devote some time to preparing for these exams, as they could be a huge factor in your future admission status. There are many online resources, books, and programs to help you prepare for said tests. However, studying doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming; there are many test prep apps that provide daily questions to slowly prepare you for that test (such as, Ready4 SAT, Ready4 ACT, and Khan Academy). Most test dates are in the fall, giving you the summer to map out a study plan and stick to it!
2. Get a job, internship or volunteer
Additionally, having a summer job or internship could keep you productive. A job is a positive way to use your time and a way to save or make money, as well as give you job experience for the future. Volunteering is another great way to devote the surplus of time you’ll have. It can give you community service hours that can go towards a graduation cord (if offered at your school), a membership like NHS or Key Club, and looks great on college admissions — not to mention, you can earn RaiseMe micro-scholarships from most schools.
3. Do your research
The main thing you want to spend time on is researching colleges, and if you haven’t already, thinking about where you want to go to school when you graduate. If you’re unsure of where to begin in your quest for a college, a good start is to ask yourself if you want to stay in state or simply what majors or fields you’re interested in. Visiting colleges is a great way to see what you like and dislike on a college campus. If you know what colleges you’re planning on applying to, start tracking deadlines, dates, and requirements. Every school has a different set of deadlines and requirements for applications. Be sure to take note of these and try to stay on track with these deadlines if you want to get your applications in on time and stand out against other admissions. Finally, research the cost! Applications can be anywhere from free to $100 depending on the school and when you apply. You may be eligible for a fee waiver if applying early or from your guidance counselor. Be sure to research your options!
4. Get a head start on your college applications
If you’ve already done the research, and you’re a rising senior, you may be ready to apply. This can definitely wait until your senior year, but it doesn’t hurt to apply early. You’ll want to check if the school has early decision, early action, or neither before you send in the application. Early decision means that sometimes schools will admit you early but it’s a binding decision; while early action is when a school will admit you early and will give you time to accept or decline the invitation. It’s also good to keep in mind you might need to have some things already completed, so knowing your college of choice’s requirements is a must. You’ll also have a surplus of time which can be devoted to writing a great admissions essay, which is critical to having a standout application. The prompts for said essays are usually posted during the summer and might change year to year, so it would benefit you to research what the prompts are and start drafting or brainstorming ideas. If you’re not ready to apply yet, that’s OK. Just make sure you remember those deadlines because once they have passed, you’ve missed your chance.