What should high school students do before the summer of their senior year?

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What should high school students do before the summer of their senior year?

Rod Bugarin
Former Admissions Officer Columbia, Brown, and Wesleyan University

What should high school students do before the summer of their senior year?

Here is my video response to the question.

Pam Proctor
Author The College Hook

What should high school students do before the summer of their senior year?

Here is my video response to the question.

Ellen erichards@ellened.com
Owner Ellen Richards Admissions Consulting

Suggestions for high school Juniors to jump-start their college action plan during the summer

Suggestions for high school Juniors to jump-start their college action plan during the summer. As tempting as it might be to goof off and sit in the pool the summer before your Senior year in high school, take these tips to heart and the college application process will be significantly smoother come Senior year! Tests: Before school lets out, sign up to take the PSAT/NMSQT in October Get ready for the ACT/SAT during the summer by taking full-length practice tests and getting SAT/ACT tutoring. Prepare for SAT Reasoning or SAT Subject Tests if the college you are interested in accepts these test scores. If you plan your tests in advance you can take up to three Subject Tests on the same day. Prepare and take AP Exams. Doing well on AP Exams allows you credit or placement at most universities. Start your college search: Make a list of your abilities, hobbies, preferences, and personal qualities and use this list to develop what you may want to study in college Read about perspective majors and careers Use COLLEGE SEARCH to help find colleges with the features and characteristics you are looking for. Visit college campuses. Take campus tours and schedule interviews with admissions counselors. It will show that you are serious about attending their school, plus it gives you a jump start on your classmates. Secure your admission: Begin thinking of what you will write about for your admissions essays. Ask teachers, coaches, community leaders, family friends, etc. if they would be able to write letters of recommendation for you - best to ask as soon as possible so they have time to think about what they will write! Request applications from colleges to which you are planning to apply. Ensure that you have the dates of acceptance down - some schools have early admissions dates or rolling admissions. Prepare for the college experience: Ask your parents for more responsibility over the summer, whether it be getting a job, or attending a summer college course, prove that you will be successful at college once you are on your own. Stay active during the summer: Volunteer or get a job that might help secure your admission into that elite program you have your eyes on - internships are great, even as a high school student! Keep your mind active. Do some summer reading to catch up on required reading. Start thinking about Financial Aid and how to pay for college: Consult with your parents to determine the amount of financial aid that you will need to apply for. Base your college search on schools that fit your budget Begin compiling a list of scholarships to apply for, as well as beginning writing scholarship letters and essays.

Alan Sheptin
Owner Sheptin Tutoring Group, LLC

Alan Sheptin, Sheptin Tutoring Group, LLC

I always tell my students to show that they can undertake responsibility. One of my favorite activities for my students is to have them take on a summer job. It can be anything from working as a camp counselor, to coaching youth basketball, to working at a local McDonalds. It shows an admissions office that a student is responsible, can manage his or her time, and is willing to earn their own keep. If students do not choose that route, I may encourage them to take a college-level course at a local school. It does not have to be an expensive summer study at a top-tier school. Taking a college (non-remedial) course at a community college can show schools that your student is an active learner, and is willing to stretch him or herself academically.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services


Visit colleges. Read books. Get a job. Take a pre-college class at a college campus. Finalize your college list. Start on your essays. Volunteer. Get an internship. Begin the Common Application which becomes available on August 1. Relax a little before school starts...

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Work on your applications

The summer before your senior year of high school is the ideal time to focus on all things admissions related. Tour schools, fill out the Common App, write those essays, request those letters of recommendation, open the FAFSA, schedule interviews, stay focused. If you can be done by the time school begins, you will be soooo happy. There are plenty of other activities demanding your attention in senior year, how nice to be able to give them you undivided attention. Plus, if you apply early, you'll hear back sooner; another BIG relief when that first offer hits your mailbox.

Erin Avery
Certified Educational Planner Avery Educational Resources, LLC

Enter Panic Mode

Just kidding! Nothing could be farther from the truth. Have you ever heard the saying: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."? I hate that saying, because failure to me in not an option for teenagers. Everything is a learning experience. But I'm a middle child, and that means I learned most of what I know from observing the trial and error of others. Step One: Breathe through your nose. Repeat Step One. Now, get organized.? Does your guidance counselor even know who you are? Who is writing your recommendation letters? Work on your brag sheet (resume/list of activities). Make a calendar of important due dates. Most importantly, remember Step One. 80% of US colleges accept 80% of their applicants. You WILL get in somewhere if you have a balanced list.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Summer before Senior year

Do something interesting! Whether academic, athletic, or other, do something that interests YOU. Go to college for high school students, volunteer, get a job, learn a new skill, spend time on your passions, go on an adventure....all of these are better than just sitting around or hanging out with your friends. Colleges want interesting students to deepen the substance of their student body....so be interesting, and be interested.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

Summer Before Senior Year—Make It Count

There are a number of things you should do before your senior year that can help in the process. Start on application at its worst the process can seem like another class so anything you can do—draft of essays, entering the basic information on the Common application, whatever--can help ease that burden. Do some final visits even though summer visit to some schools may not give you the best picture since they may not have very full or vibrant summer population. Undertake some kind of productive and substantive activity—an academic program, volunteer work, or a job. Work in particular has a bad rap as far as its impact on college, and it shouldn’t for the demonstration of responsibility inherent in any job is nothing but positive. There is no one right thing to do, but use the summer productively.

Karen Ekman-Baur
Director of College Counseling Leysin American School

What should high school students do before the summer of their senior year?

High school students should already have an idea of the schools to which they want to apply before the summer of their senior year. Most, if not all, of the research should be done. If possible, arrangements should be made to visit the schools of interest - either in the spring of a student's junior year or in the summer of his/her senior year. Of course, this is not always feasible for various logistical and financial reasons, but there's nothing that can beat an actual visit to a campus in helping a student to make college application and acceptance decisions. On those visits, the student should plan to attend an information session, take a campus tour, and if required or recommended by the institution, participate in a private interview with one of the admissions officers. Time permitting, it would also be of benefit for the student to wander around campus for awhile to get a feel for the environment. The best time to visit a college is when classes are in session and students are on campus, but this doesn't always fit into the schedules of most high school students, so the visits will just have to be scheduled when they can be - usually spring or summer breaks. When colleges are in session, it is often possible to schedule on-campus overnight stays with current students, which is one more way to get a "feel" for the schools. I also recommend that my clients take at least one SAT and/or one ACT before the summer of their senior year. This accomplishes several purposes: Firstly, a student can determine areas of strength and weakness and can focus on the areas in which he/she would like to improve before taking the test again once or twice in the fall of the senior year. (In my experience, taking the tests more than three times can be counter-productive.) Secondly, getting an idea of a student's potential test results and comparing those results with standardized test score ranges at the schools in which the student is interested can be useful in determining which schools represent realistic expectations and which are "reaches". Keep in mind that the standardized test score ranges which schools publish are typically the middle 50%, which means that 25% of admitted students had lower test scores and 25% of admitted students had higher test scores. Students in the lower 25% usually had some other defining strength or quality, which made up for the less stellar test scores - musical, artistic, or athletic ability, international background, etc. It is also important to know that a small, but growing, group of colleges have decided to no longer require standardized test scores of their applicants, feeling that the scores are not representative of a student's potential for college/university success. These schools are not in the majority, however. During their junior year, students should have made every effort to work toward success in their high school classes. Again, this if for several reasons: Firstly, the grades that will be initially entered on students' applications will be grades from the junior year. Of course, students should stay focused on doing well in the 12th grade, as well, as those grades will ultimately be provided through the Mid-Year and Final Grade Reports to the schools to which they apply. Another reason for working diligently in the 11th grade is that students will, in all likelihood, be asking their 11th grade teachers for college recommendations, since, at the time that college applications are being sent out, 11th grade teachers will most often have more knowledge of a student, having worked with him/her for a full year and completed a full year of instruction with him/her. Students will want to ensure that what their recommenders are able to say about them will be positive.