Summer is coming, and no doubt your student is ready for the break from tests and textbooks, but don’t forfeit this valuable time to boredom! Your son or daughter can get a lot more done during these next few months than watching music videos on Vh1. The free days of summer are an ideal time for your student to prepare for college, without the distractions and stress of the school year.
If your student is still in high school, use the summer to get a jump start on the college application process. Really research the schools your child is interested in-find out about their admissions statistics, financial aid packages, and student life. Visit nearby colleges, or colleges your student is particularly interested in, and check out the campus, explore the area, and maybe even sit in on a class. Once your son or daughter has chosen some schools of interest, you and your child can compile a list of requirements and deadlines. Your student may even want to draft an admissions essay-this will save them a lot of headaches when school starts up and applications are suddenly due!
Your student could also take some time to prepare for upcoming standardized tests. He or she could read a test prep book, buy inexpensive software, or even take a preparatory class for the PSAT, SAT, or ACT. Remember, for 11th graders, the PSAT is also the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, so it isn’t just a practice SAT-it’s a scholarship opportunity!
A lot of private scholarship deadlines come up in the summer and fall. This brief reprieve from studying gives your child the opportunity to search out and apply for scholarships. This may be the only time your student has time to read Atlas Shrugged and write an essay on it!
Many students use their summer break to get involved in their communities. Colleges love to see applicants with diverse interests and a background in community service. Even if it’s only a few hours a week, volunteering at a hospital, spending Saturday mornings in a soup kitchen, or helping out at an animal shelter can all give your student a leg up in the admissions game.
Part-time work can also be a great experience for students during the summer. It builds their resume, helps them learn responsibility, and gives them money to deposit in their college fund. Doing some part-time work now not only helps pad your child’s college fund, but also gives him or her additional experience to put on a college or scholarship application.
All the best,