Start Your College Planning
Identify ‘best fit’ colleges, visit them, and, for rising seniors, work on college essays and applications!
Admissions has become more competitive and complex than ever. It’s nearly impossible to get a reliable sense of a school without visiting, or speaking to current students and alumni, or a combination of both. Do your homework! Don’t rely on “viewbooks” or web pictures and descriptions to create your list. Choose appropriate colleges and apply correctly. You can even attend end-of-summer college application workshops at a few select local high schools in order to clarify your list of choices and to do it right.
Here’s are a few essentials to planning:
- Prepare for college visits and interviews
- Create the essential activity resume
- Brainstorm critical application essay ideas!
- Check your colleges for Early Decision/Early Action options
- Review your applications with a fine-toothed comb
Start SAT/ACT Prep
Startling! Outrageous! Devastating! Our reactions – and the results – of “last-minute” test preparation for ACT and SAT.
Don’t wait until a few weeks before an SAT, ACT, or even PSAT to start preparing. That won’t be enough! ACT and SAT scores are the 2nd most important factor in college admission and play a significant role in scholarships and financial aid. Be proactive! Plan now.
- With all the changes to the SAT, PSAT, and even ACT, make sure you’re prepping with current materials.
- PLAN flexibly, so that your test prep blends nicely with your summer plans.
Whether you prefer working by yourself, in a small class group, with a close friend or two, or working one-on-one with a specialized instructor, use your summer schedule to get a leg up on these tests before school begins in the fall. There are lots of options, but you have to act.
Work on College Application Essays
For rising seniors: Begin brainstorming ideas and drafting your college application essays this summer ― way before school begins in the fall. Line ‘em up by importance: High school transcript, test scores, ESSAY! You’ve got to nail your writing, because it serves as your voice that jumps out from your application. There are tens of thousands of applicants – and you. This critical part of most applications can set you apart. Know where to start? Can you “converse” with the potential reader of your application essay?
Got a writer’s block? Don’t know the essay prompts for your colleges? Get assistance from parents, friends, counselors, consultants. There are lots of ways you can set yourself straight. Another option: look for end-of-summer College Application Essay Workshops near you.
Participate in Meaningful Summer Activities
Consider a combination of activities from among these options:
Local, national and international programs provide short-, medium-, and long-duration sessions of every imaginable kind. Whether hiking a part of the Appalachian Trail, learning to sail on Penobscot Bay in Maine, studying criminal justice, or playing in a string quartet, there are so many possibilities! Inquire today – use the vast Internet resources.
Job or Internship: Law, medicine, fashion design, retailing, auto mechanics, large-animal vet. Ask around now for your summer chance.
Volunteer. “Service Above Self” is the motto of a world-renowned service organization where volunteering helps lives, saves lives. Use the web to look for opportunities locally, nationally, and abroad. One place to start your search is www.volunteens.com, which lists volunteer opportunities in Palm Beach and Broward Counties.
Academics. Web-based and classroom courses abound. Colleges in your area offer a host of courses. Feed your mind! (and check red Tip #5 below)
Stay Healthy! Commit to your health: SCUBA, road bike, tennis lessons, running, roller blades, free weights, hiking, yoga, and on and on! Don’t just dream about it. Do it!
Take an Extra Course
Yup, you can actually improve your chances for college admission or lighten your course load for next year by taking summer courses ― and under lots less stressful conditions!
Through AP or dual-enrollment, core courses or something unusual, you’ll be adding to your high school transcript! Online or on college campuses, locally or around the country, make the most of a summer opportunity to deepen your curiosity, learn a new academic skill, and improve your reading speed and comprehension. Course possibilities are endless — and often pretty exciting, especially those at colleges that want to attract high school students to their campuses for great summer experiences. And feedback from students has always been outstanding!
BONUS ITEM: Pump Mental Iron (now, a word from your “sponsor”)
What if…what if, in a completely stress-free environment you were able to get a long, thorough peek into a course or two that you’ll be taking in school when classes begin in August? No muss, no fuss. No frustration when learning new concepts, no embarrassment about raising your hand to ask a question in class. It’s your own private introduction to a high school course!
Our academic Jump-Start programs are your cup o’ tea. A couple of weeks (about two hours daily) of biology, physics, algebra 1, calculus, AP English – you name it – toward summer’s end (or any time during the summer when you’re available), will put you on top of the world that first day in class.
For years, our students have earned high grades in their classes as a result of our Jump Start introductory programs. Will you?