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Planning for Summer in the Dead of Winter

It might be the dead of winter, but this is the time summer planning for a college- bound student should begin. There are decisions to be made that can have a significant impact on both your college applications and on your final enrollment decision, and planning for summer starts in the fall/early winter of each academic year. Here are a few options:

Academic summer programs: many of these opportunities are pay-to-play pro-grams that are favored by students with strong financial resources. Most take place on a college campus and provide students with a real on-campus living experience. Note that many programs open their registration in December, all have important deadlines, some have minimum age requirements and some may have a competitive application to submit. Explore new subjects of interest or ones for which you already have a passion. Some examples:

There are also some university-based programs that provide attendees with transferable college credit. Some examples:

Taking classes during the summer can be a great way of demonstrating an academic/intellectual interest, or to catch up or get ahead in a regular subject. It displays your eagerness to learn, even during school breaks.

Community service: Spend the summer doing some community service or volunteer work. Colleges love to see applicants who have engaged in something bigger than themselves. No, you don’t have to fly to Ne-pal to dig toilets – find something local that matters to you.

Standardized test prep: it’s never too early to start planning your testing schedule. Many students take either the PSAT or the PreACT in the spring of their sophomore year or fall of their junior year. Don’t forget that there are many free online resources for test preparation, but you might want to complete a summer test prep program; here are some examples, located on a high school campus:

Get a job! College is a very expensive commodity and your family will always appreciate your ability to work over the summer and start putting money away. You might even be able to save enough money to buy some of your college textbooks! Colleges will always honor an applicant’s dedication and determination, and a job shows both responsibility and reliability – great qualities in a college student.

Keep your eyes on the prize! Take the dark days of winter as the perfect time to plan your summer activities because it all matters. If it matters to you, it matters to your colleges so plan on engaging in activities that will make your application shine and tell your story with authenticity.

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