How to Spend Your Summer Months in High School

Study on the BeachIt may not seem like it now, especially if you’re looking outside at a pile of snow… but summer is right around the corner! Year after year, there is an increased focus from admissions committees at top schools on how students spend their summer months. While it is called summer “break,” we know that you need to spend your “break” being productive, too! We’ve compiled our list of the best ways to spend your summer months to maximize both preparedness and relaxation!

1) Strengthen your Candidacy

This one is general, but probably the most important. Summer months are your break from school, so you have opportunities to strengthen parts of your candidacy outside of your classroom performance. Here are some ideas for how to spend that valuable time:

Participate in a competitive academic program

Now is the time to apply to competitive academic summer programs. Admissions committees will evaluate how you have explored academic interests outside of your high school curriculum, and participating in an academic summer program is an excellent way to demonstrate your pursuit of academic interests outside of school. Any program that allows you to take additional coursework, study on a college campus or participate in research with a working professional is a great choice!

Participate in a meaningful volunteer opportunity

Admissions committees also care deeply about how you have supported your community and developed an interest in community involvement. If you reflect on your extracurricular activities and find that you have not been too involved in bettering your community, summer months are a great time to find a worthy organization and get your hands dirty!

Focus on test prep

If you’ve already taken the ACT or SAT and don’t have your desired score, you should spend summer months preparing to take the exam again. It’s easier to focus on test prep when you’re not knee deep in your AP Physics and Honors Literature class, so utilize the summer months to focus on test prep and increase your score before you begin the college applications!

2) Explore colleges – virtually or in person

Use your summer months to explore colleges in-person or virtually. While it’s not an ideal time to visit college campuses because the student population is much smaller than during the school year, it’s typically the best time for families to travel together. Make the most of your visits by meeting with an admissions representative personally, talking with current students and professors. If physically visiting campuses is not possible, take advantage of the World Wide Web and the fabulous resources available at your fingertips! Most colleges will offer virtual tours on their website and admissions representatives make themselves available for calls from prospective students!

3) Finalize your school list

One of the biggest mistakes we see students make is beginning their senior year without a finalized school list. By the time you step foot at your school as a mighty and all-knowing senior, you should have your school list finalized – a balance between reach, match and safety schools.

4) Enjoy yourself

Finally, it’s your break. Take a breather and enjoy yourself. Spend time with your friends and family, sleep in and soak up the sun. While it’s important to focus on college readiness, we also know that balance is key. Enjoy!


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