By UnigoThe college admissions process may seem far away during the hazy days of summer, but if you’re reading this, you’ve probably already begun thinking about it. It’s never too early to start planning for college, and there are plenty of ways for your child to stand out and get a jump on the process during the summer before junior year. Here are three things that you should encourage your child to do right now to stay ahead of the game: Volunteer – The best way for your child to help him or herself during the summer before junior year is to stay active and participate in a program that both coincides with his/her interests and will look impressive on a college application. Encourage your child to find a way to take one of his/her extracurricular interests and turn it into a volunteer opportunity over the summer. Is your child an athlete? Volunteer at a local youth sports program. An artist? Organize an introductory painting program at a local nursing home. There are endless ways to take what he/she loves and use it to help others. Summer Programs – Admissions offices no longer look for the “well-rounded” students. Instead, the trend is to find students who excel in one or two specific areas. Your child should take one of his/her interests, whether academic or personal, and pursue it over the summer. If it’s too late to sign up for a summer program, start researching opportunities to pursue this passion during the school year and start preparing for next summer. Plan Ahead – What are your child’s goals for junior year, whether directly related to the college admissions process or not? Write them down and give a deadline for each one. Reserve weekends throughout the school year to visit colleges. Mark down any nearby college fairs on the calendar. The best plan of attack for the admissions process is to stay organized and plan ahead.