It’s a scientific fact (well, not really — but yet I think you’ll still agree): Summer is the most fleeting season of the year. That’s because even though summer has the same number of calendar days as its three fellow sun-cycles, we define this time of the year by its long-awaited respite and big dose of freedom from the everyday demands of school life. For rising juniors and seniors, these months are well-earned and precious.
When students comment, “I’m so busy this summer — I have no time to…” I take that as code for: I need my downtime. Absolutely. You need downtime to refresh and recreate so you can get back in the saddle when school starts up again in the fall. But remember that no matter how full summer days are with a job or team practice, they will not be as busy or structured as when senior or junior year start up in full form.
Depending where you are in the college process, whether a rising college explorer or soon-to-be-applicant, there are several things you need to be doing —and accomplishing — during summer break:
+ Work on college essays. Steadily.
+ Prep for SAT or ACT — or at least take some diagnostic sample tests.
+ If expecting to test or re-test for subject tests in August, begin studying right away.
see prior blog post -- It’s Here: The August SAT
+ Accomplish AP summer prep work, as is necessary.
+ Begin to prepare your Common App — (and/or Coalition App; U of CA; or Apply Texas apps).
+ Get a good start on organizing a portfolio if applying to arts programs.
+ Be in touch with athletics coaches or admissions reps.
And there is one more to-do on the list: Get out into the sunshine and fresh air — or into the studio, lab, or workplace; plane; train or car. Play, work, socialize, day dream and enjoy summer in whatever ways you crave to refresh and rejuvenate before the calendar flips to September!
Coming to A Testing Center (Hopefully) Near You…
“All things come to those who wait, but when they come they’re out of date.” ~ Anonymous
Midyear grades have only just appeared. Super Bowl has only just faded to the rear view; Cupid has barely made his mid-winter mark; and March Madness is still weeks away.
High school juniors: No matter how you frame your winter calendar, now is the time to set your wheels in motion around several key components of the college application process.
Even if it feels like there is a lot of road left to travel during junior year, it’s not at all too early for students to work up a personal plan and:
Get out in front of and be realistic about college affordability.
Devote time and energy to educate themselves about colleges.
Acknowledge their learning and social needs and search out appropriate educational environments.
Take the time to reflect on a potential college major (with the understanding that one's choice may change).
Put thought into an appropriate standardized testing plan.
Think about reaching out to influencers who will further support their applications, including teacher, counselor or employer recommenders.
Bottom line: There are plenty of pieces to organize along the way as students aim to assemble solid college applications that connect their strengths, goals, needs and resources.
If students are looking for a starting line, now is the time to pull out the calendar and jump on these action steps:
Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com