How To Use Winter Break to Your College Prep Advantage

Snowman on the KSU campus - winter break is a great time to prepare for college

Flickr user N1NJ4

Your winter holiday break gives you a chance to get away from your classes, but you can actually use this time to your college prep advantage. Here’s how to prepare for college even while you’re celebrating with family and ringing in the new year.

How To Prepare for College During Your Holiday Break

By the time December rolls around, you should already have a good idea of what colleges you want to apply to. When holiday break comes up, your college’s regular decision deadlines may just be around the corner.

Now is the time to prepare for college applications and make sure you have everything together that you need. Take note of your school’s deadline and make sure to turn in your application well ahead of time. You don’t want to run into any last minute catastrophes that disqualify your application before anyone even gets to see it.

Visit Schools Again (If Possible)

Your holiday break is also a great time to visit colleges if you have the opportunity. You may have already attended an open house early in the year, but it’s always a good idea to visit more than once, especially if you’ve only seen “what they want to show you.” You want to get an accurate picture of the school you may be attending, so take some time yourself to explore.

You may discover during this time that the college isn’t for you or it isn’t quite what your tour guide sold you. You might still want to turn in your application “just in case” but you may have come to the realization that this school isn’t at the top of your list anymore. Or it could be vice versa and you fall in love with the campus. However, keep in mind that many schools don’t have students during the holidays, as they’re enjoying their own winter break.

Take a Well Deserved Break

Don’t forget to actually enjoy your break. After all, it’s your holiday break and you deserve some time off! You don’t want to keep your nose to the college application grindstone too hard, but don’t ignore it either. Find balance between time off and keeping on top of your application preparation responsibilities.

The best way to do this is to create a schedule. Set aside time to fill out the applications, write essays, and complete other tasks your college may be asking of you. You’ll also want to mark “free time” on your to do list!

As you go home for your winter break, it can be stressful to know your college application due dates are just around the corner. Most colleges request them in January. However, with the right planning and preparation, your application will be ready to go well ahead of time. At the same time, don’t deny yourself the break. Between college applications, scholarship applications, high school courses, midterms, extracurricular activities, and maybe even a job, you have a lot going on. You deserve this break, but just be sure you don’t completely ignore responsibilities!

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!

Hilary Cairns

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