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.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

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

While this may not be a popular answer -- we highly recommend that students start on their college essays during the summer. At the very least, students should review essay prompts and begin the brainstorming process. While fall and winter application deadlines can seem very far away in July and August -- the first semester of senior year is an intense whirlwind of activity -- and before you know it -- it will be Halloween and early decision/action deadlines will be right around the corner. In order to write a solid, authentic, and compelling essay, a student needs to devote some time and careful thought to the process. By starting in the summer -- away from the crush of academics and extracurriculars -- you can build a strong foundation to crafting essays that truly reflect the great person that you are.

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.

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.

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.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

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

I'm assuming this means that the 11th grade is over. If not, be sure to ask special teachers for LOR's. Waiting until the fall can be too late, as they'll be bombarded by your classmates. Make sure that if they work in the summer that they'll earn <$6,000 in 2012, otherwise, for every dollar earned over, they'll lose 50 cents in financial aid! Contemplate starting your own fundraising organization to get a real boost in the admissions process & hire your friends as your asssistants. Make sure that if you have to visit a college campus that at least a summer session is in progress. Poor planning resulted in this decision.

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.

Zahir Robb
College Counselor The Right Fit College

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

Rest...that said: Whittle down your college list; prepare for the SAT/ACT; draft your essays; volunteer, work or participate in a leadership activity; visit campuses; and most of all, enjoy yourself. Find balance between the items listed above and your own personal growth.