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Junior Summer: What to Do the Summer After Junior Year

Dec 31

What you need to do the summer before you become a senior.

No, the answer is not to spend it all at the beach because it’s your last free summer.  And it’s more than just having your senior portraits taken.  Your senior year is approaching and, while it will be a lot of fun, it will be far from easy and uneventful.  You need to make sure you use your summer vacation wisely.

Use the summer after your junior year to take care of pre-college tasks so that you will have more free time to enjoy being a senior.  Some of the things you need to consider:

  • Refine your college selection choices.  There may be many schools that are appealing, but by this time you should have your choices narrowed down to one or two favorites with one or two alternates, just in case.
  • Apply for scholarships. Check out fastweb.com for scholarship information based on interests and activities.  But, be careful, and be sure you’re dealing with a reputable group.
  • Rethink the testing strategy.  Did your SAT or ACT scores not meet your desired results?  Consider retaking or taking a different test.  Summer is a good time to try a practice test.
  • Consider upping your game with regard to leadership opportunities.  Taking on added responsibilities will be noticed by college admissions officers.
  • Try a sample class, either online or at a local community college.  Many college level courses are available through iTunes University.  This can give the student a good idea of how college level classes work.
  • Talk with alumni.  Most graduates are more than happy to talk about their alma mater.  The high school guidance counselor should have a good idea of where graduates went to college.
  • Ask someone in a field related to the desired area of study if the student can shadow them for a day.  This experience may either confirm a student’s planned area of study or give them a new sense of direction.  Check out Jobshadow.com.
  • Start lining up recommendation letters.  Don’t’ wait until the last minute.  Help the person you ask for recommendations by giving them some suggestions on areas of focus.  What would you like them to say about you? If the student is still making up their mind about a school, the letters should be more generic in nature.

Don’t think that because the testing is done and applications are in that the senior year is a time to slack off on responsibilities and academics.  Many schools look at grades as far into the senior year as the third quarter.  That’s true even if letters of acceptance have already been received.