Summer College Checklist for Rising Seniors

 By     May 15, 2016
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The Class of 2016 is almost out the door. Class of 2017, it’s time to start thinking about your last year of high school and getting ready for college.  Enjoy your summer but resist the temptation to do absolutely nothing!  What can you do this summer to be even more prepared? Read on!

Finish strong!

Remember that your junior year grades will be the first point  of introduction to college admissions officers.  Make a good impression.  Don’t give in to the temptation to coast toward your last summer before your senior year.  Speaking of senior year . . .

Review your class schedule for senior year!

Colleges are most impressed by students who challenge themselves throughout high school.  Take a rigorous courseload and work hard to do well in those classes!  Don’t be tempted to take just the minimum number of classes needed for graduation.  Courses that really look good on a senior-year transcript include foreign language and advanced science/math.

Think about Teacher Recommendations

Who among your high school teachers, counselors, coaches, and advisers would best be able to help colleges learn about the person you are beyond grades?  Consider that if you apply to college early in the fall, your senior year teachers may not know you well enough yet to write a thoughtful recommendation.

Summer plans matter!

When colleges ask, “What did you do this past summer?” they are really gauging you. If you spent your summer volunteering at a local hospital, you can be taken more seriously when you say on your application that you want to be a nurse or doctor.  Did you take a math class at the community college? Engineering schools would smile upon such.

Figure out what you need to do about the SAT and ACT!

If you plan to take the ACT or SAT again, don’t wait to prepare!  Once school gets started, juggling prep along with classes, extracurriculars, etc. can be hectic.  Start NOW.  Take a look at your current scores and map out a game plan!  If you play a fall sport, take a class before school starts.  if you haven’t taken either test yet and/or need help deciding which to take, start here.

Start drafting your college application essay.

The application essay matters.  A LOT.  It’s a true opportunity to let colleges know about you in a way that grades and test scores can’t reveal.  Don’t hurt your admission chances by submitting poorly-written essays.

Take the extra steps needed to pursue college athletics and arts.

Are you planning to play sports in college? Check your eligibility!  What about game footage and other recruiting aspects?  For the arts, do you need to submit a portfolio or audition?

Take college tours.  

Do remember, however, that campuses can feel differently in the summer.

Plan how you will pay for college.

Start researching scholarships!  Students can file a 2017–18 FAFSA as early as OCTOBER 1, 2016. This date is very important for the class of 2017: be prepared early to apply for scholarships and other financial aid opportunities.