Summertime is upon us, bringing with it long days of rest and relaxation!
Although everyone deserves a vacation, this is also an EXCELLENT time to accomplish certain things that will benefit you later in the college admissions process! These two months of “free” time are a blessing – use them purposefully and you will reap the rewards in the Fall.
Here is a list of my TOP 5 things to be working on this summer….
1. Standardized Test Prep!
If you are a rising freshman, sophomore, or junior (and seniors too!), preparing for upcoming standardized tests is extremely important! With a few exceptions, all colleges require their applicants to submit test scores. As a homeschool applicant, test scores are especially important because they provide admission officers with an objective standard by which to evaluate you. The primary tests you want to focus on are the SAT I and the ACT. Go to your local book store and find test prep review books. Take a look at their different sections on test taking strategy and helpful hints. These will definitely help you on test day! Another good idea is to try taking several practice tests – these will get you “warmed” up so that when testing day comes, you will be prepared.
I recommend this book for SAT prep….it helped me raise my score by over 200 points! The title is “Outsmarting the SAT” by Elizabeth King.
2. Build a Resume!
The best way to start is to find an online template (try google searching one) and then filling in your information. A resume is basically a record of your activities, volunteer work, sports, awards, etc. that you have been involved in during high school. When you go to list your activities on an application or scholarship app., this will serve as a helpful reference. All the information will be in one place and will save you a lot of time! I refer to mine all the time and have found it to be very helpful so that I don’t forget anything. As you start new activities, make sure to update your resume! (This is picture is an example of what NOT to do!)
3. Start Thinking!
Those college application essays will sneak up on you before you know it so start thinking about possible answers to the essay prompts for colleges you are applying too. Start by researching the prompts online, then make a master list with the prompts of all the essays you will need to write. Take some time each day to brainstorm ideas….don’t start writing this early, just get some ideas down on paper. This time of reflection will make your essays sound more genuine and thought out when you go to write them. And you never know, you might have a stroke of genius one day that could lead to a fabulous paper!
4. Get Involved!
Use this free time to get involved with solid activities that will “boost” your college application. This could include an internship, volunteer work, starting a club, travel, etc. When you have to fill out the “activities” section on applications in the Fall, it is very beneficial to have some solid things to list. Find something that interests you and go for it! Try asking around your community or the internet to find new opportunities.
5. College Tours!
Touring a college can be fun and exciting! Start to make a list of colleges you are interested in and then go visit them! The “visit” can be a very important part as you decide where to apply. Also, some colleges factor “demonstrated interest” into their admission decisions. This means that they will review whether the student has visited their college or otherwise shown interest in it. By visiting, they will have a documented record that you have “expressed” interest. Research different colleges to review their policy on this!
Enjoy your summer and remember to use this time for meaningful things! By preparing now, you will set yourself up for success in the Fall!