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College Corner: Summer plans

Warkentin discusses summer plans, college preparation

Summer is a good oppurtunity for upcoming seniors to get a glimpse of what college will be like.
[/media-credit] Summer is a good oppurtunity for upcoming seniors to get a glimpse of what college will be like.

With summer just around the corner, most high school students can think of nothing better than sleeping in on weekdays and working on their tan. Come to think of it, most teachers have the same idea. But in between catnaps and sunburns, junior students have lots to do in preparation for next year.

Many professionals have their opinions about how upcoming seniors should spend their summer vacations, but there are many options that can be equally beneficial to the upcoming senior.

For years colleges and private organizations have offered summer programs for high school students. These can be great opportunities for students to get their feet wet and spend some time on a college campus or learn more about a particular college major. But at the same time, these programs can be very costly. According to Arvi Kaushal, Program Director for College Prep Consultants, “They usually run $2000-$3000 but are great to get the college experience in a dorm setting and get the knowledge of the major you may want to pursue. It also makes a great essay and some offer college credit”.

To search for pre-college experiences and other programs related to a particular major of study visit the Fastweb College Program Search. Kaushal also recommends that students look into programs such as the National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF), the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC), the Junior State of America (JSA), and COSMOS.

What may be a better option for many students is a program that benefits not only the student but also their local community, or even society as a whole. Kaushal explains the importance of community service as it relates to the college application, “Volunteering is very important because within the applications there are sections asking if you have contributed to the community around you but you must stay consistent in the volunteering project. They also want to see many hours in one category rather than taking up so many volunteering project and doing it just to look good.”

A few possible volunteer opportunities are listed below:

In addition to summer programs, drafting a resume and asking professionals for letters of recommendation is a great way to start preparing for senior year. Teachers and school administrators can be extremely busy during the school year so summer can be an ideal time to get a letter from them.

[/media-credit] Over the summer, seniors are encouraged to attend college workshops and camps.

Preparing for and taking the SAT/ACT tests during the summer months can also be beneficial. By this point in time students should have already taken one or both of these tests and should have an attainable goal for scholarships and college applications in mind. More and more students are opting to take both tests and are using their better score for college admissions purposes. In order to choose a test to focus on students should refer to an SAT/ACT Comparison chart.

As you can see there are plenty of ways to start preparing for college during the summer after your junior year. This is a pivotal time in life because many of the decisions students make now will determine the trajectory of the rest of their life (no pressure). Don’t squander this time, instead use it to visit college campuses, shadow a local professional in the field you are interested in, interview current college students about their struggles and triumphs, and apply for scholarships. Believe me, this time will fly by. The more prepared you are come August, the more you will be able to relax and enjoy senior year. Happy summer college planning!

Be sure to read Warkentin’s April 8 article, College Corner: Career Exploration. She can be reached via: Michelle Warkentin email.

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