By Daniel Montesano, Sage Day College and Career Coordinator
With the school year coming to an end, many students and parents ask what they can do over the summer to better prepare for the following year to ensure college readiness. Below are two questions that I received recently that I would like to address.
My son plans on going to college and will be a senior next year, what should he be doing over the summer to help him prepare?
The summer before senior year of high school is a crucial one for students who plan to attend college. Students should continue to take visits to colleges they are interested in – an on-campus visit can often be the best way to help decide on where to apply. Students should also take advantage of their time off during the summer to work, volunteer, get an internship and be active in the community. Summer is the ideal time to bolster the college resume with extra curricular activities and experiences.
What college preparations should my child have completed by the time school starts back again in September?
There are a variety of steps in the college process that can be completed before entering senior year. Staying organized and ahead of schedule can drastically reduce the stress of the college application process. Below are some steps that can be completed during the summer to help stay on track.
- Prior to September of senior year, students should have a list of colleges they wish to apply to. The college list is often broken down into the following categories: Target (2-3 colleges), Reach (2), and Safety (2-3). By organizing the college list in this manner, students maintain a realistic approach to applying to colleges.
- Take college visits! During the spring and summer, students and parents should visit as many colleges as possible to help narrow down their search and application list.
- Boost your resume – summer is a perfect time for seniors to get a job, find a volunteer opportunity, or join a community organization that will enhance the college application.
- Begin thinking about and create a draft of the college essay. Many colleges will have the application online during the summer with the essay questions available. Additionally, the Common App also allows access to the essay questions. Students should begin reviewing the essay questions and creating an initial draft of their essays.
- If you have not already done so, email teachers and counselors for recommendations. Once school begins in September, teachers and staff get very busy and allowing them time to work on recommendations early will be very helpful.