What Juniors Should Do Over The Summer For College Prep

Summer college prep for high school juniors

Flickr user AFS USA

Using your time wisely over the summer to do your groundwork towards college prep and ease the stress during your senior year. Here are some of the most important things you should do over the summer as part of your summer college prep:

Start Narrowing Down Colleges

With over 2000 colleges and universities in the US, this can take time. It’s not as easy as shortlisting all institutions that offer the major you are interested in. Every college offers a completely unique experience based on more than just its academic programs.

To narrow down your college choices and find one that is the best fit for you, you will want to take into consideration the academics, extracurricular facilities, campus atmosphere, campus location and more. Starting early will help reduce the overwhelm, especially if you use these smart strategies to narrow down your choices.

Explore Scholarship Opportunities And Apply To Those You Are Eligible For

There are scholarships available for a wide range of criteria. Searching for and applying to each opportunity can take some time but it is totally worth it. The earlier you start searching, the more scholarships you’ll earn, the less you have to take out in student loans.

Get Your Recommendation Letters Ready

Now is the time to put together all the relevant information and documentation and ask your teacher or guidance counselor to write your letter of recommendation. Writing a recommendation letter takes time. Asking immediately after junior year gives your letter writer sufficient time to compose a compelling recommendation based on the interactions they’ve had with you over the past years.

Explore Your Career Interests

If you are interested in a particular career, shadowing a professional in the same or related field will give you an inside look at the career. You may be interested in pursuing a career because it seems exciting or glamorous. But, do you know what goes on behind the scenes? Job shadowing is the best way to avoid making a wrong choice.

Even if you do not have a specific career interest yet, job shadowing will help you gain exposure to a few different career paths so you can strike out those that are definitely not for you and do some more research into potential careers.

Look For Volunteering Opportunities

Volunteering helps you gain valuable transferable skills that can give your college application a huge boost. Colleges value students who have spent time volunteering in their community. Students who have spent considerable time volunteering are more likely to have honed their leadership and community skills. They also have a greater sense of responsibility, accountability and empathy and have better organizational and time-management skills. All of these are qualities that colleges like to see in their students.

Sure, summers are for enjoying and doing everything you cannot do the rest of the year. You don’t have to give up your summer fun completely. Just set aside sufficient time to spend on college prep. You’ll be glad you did when you find and get accepted into a college right for you.

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