How to Balance Summer College Prep Activities

Here are some college prep activities to do over the summer so you aren't as stressed later.

Flickr user Juska Wedlend

For most students, summer means free time, friends, family, and fun. Although unwinding before entering senior year is important, it is just as important to make time for a few college prep activities to help alleviate impending senior year stress.

Summer Reading

Just because you aren’t enrolled in Advanced Placement doesn’t mean you can’t read the novels or look through the lists anyway. Many current AP summer reading lists include more recent novels and shorter publications. Future English majors can knock out a number of prerequisites for Senior English by having some familiarity with upcoming assignments.

Reading is a great way to build your vocabulary and gives you critical thinking skills. Both of these can be useful on the ACT / SAT if you’re taking it again senior year.

Get a Job

 Even with scholarships and opportunities from FAFSA, college can be expensive.  A summer job can alleviate this expense. Many employers in the retail and food-service industries preferring to hire young employees over the summer. You are sure to find something that suits your interests and your skillset.

Many employers may also offer scholarship opportunities for those who may be interested in a future career with the organization as well. Yes, it’s nice to have a little extra money in the summer for fun. But, don’t forget to put some aside in a savings account. Food and college textbooks are expensive.

ACT/SAT Study Groups and Practice Exams

With no homework assignments to worry about, you have plenty of time to begin preparations for the ACT or SAT exams. Your local public library is the perfect place to practice online exams, check out study materials, or find a study group to help you get ready for these challenging tests.

Do an Internship

One of the best ways to learn more about what you think is (or may be) your dream job is to gain first-hand experience through an internship. Summer is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the work environment without worrying about grades or school-related projects.

Some colleges value internship experiences just as much as future employers do. The best way to learn certain job and interpersonal skills is through work experience. Internships are perfect for people with limited work experience, while still showing their passion for the field.  Internships are also a great way to find out if your chosen field is really what you want to do.

Volunteer Work

Many teens may find volunteer work to be one of the best experiences they have prior to their senior year. A variety of voluntary positions may be available during the summer. Church and 4-H camps allow teenagers to work with younger students within their communities and there are also plenty of volunteering opportunities at summer camps and with various civic organizations. Much like an internship, volunteer work helps you gain first-hand experience while learning skills you’ll need for the rest of your life.

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