What to Do the Summer Before Your Senior Year

summer break, sumer vacation, senior, senior year, college, Angela is a junior high school student from the OC. She loves math, writing, and reading good books. Disney and old Hollywood movies are her guilty pleasures. When she grows up, she wants to be a doctor or engineer.

Class of 2013? Congratulations for surviving the worst of junior year. For now,  AP tests are over and the rest of the year is a piece of cake, filled with nothing but movie-watching and grade-boosting projects. In the upcoming summer vacation, many will spend their days wasting away underneath the glaring sun. If you are a college-bound student, don’t. At least not every day.

Of course, these three months should be used as an opportunity to wind down. Nothing is wrong with a little relaxation. However, similar to junior year, the summer before your senior year is also being scrutinized by the college admission board. What you do outside of the school year counts. In other words, it is not over yet. You can choose to do absolutely nothing, or you can take advantage of this summer to do something meaningful, like finding a passion, gaining fresh experiences, and preparing for the grand finale called Senior Year.

  1. Try taking a class at a community college. It can be an enrichment to your academic career or a class you signed up for just for the fun of it. Summer is the opportune time to be spontaneous and learn for the sheer sake of learning.
  2. Volunteer and/or get a summer job. Earn those hours by contributing to something worthwhile or start saving for future expenses.
  3. Prep for next year’s courses. Let’s face it. No one wants to do it. But if you are going to be taking one or more AP classes, know that everything you will learn next year is already available to you in the form of review books. Even those who cannot fully grasp the material by reading it from a book will be at an advantage by just skimming the text. These tools are very useful, doubling as both a comprehensive review and an introduction to the course.
  4. Begin planning your college application. At this point, you should have some idea of where you want to go to for college. Compile a list, making sure you include at least one safety, match, and reach school. Then, start familiarizing yourself with the common application. Brainstorm topics for your personal statement. Determine which teachers your will request a recommendation from. The first semester of senior year will be extremely difficult for anyone unaware of the application process. It would be wise to avoid the extra stress.
  5. Lastly, travel. Experience different cultures, meet new faces, and view the greatest wonders of the world face-to-face. You have ample time to push these boundaries. Plenty more is out there, waiting to be uncovered. Who knows? You may even meet your college essay topic along the way.

“May the odds be ever in your favor,” as the cliché goes. College is an important milestone and I wish all the best of luck.

Photo Credit: shazwan from Flickr


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