• 21 July 2018
A Summer ‘To-Do’ List for Rising Seniors

A Summer ‘To-Do’ List for Rising Seniors

Jun 17, 2018

There’s plenty ahead for rising high school seniors as they plot course for college. Here are summertime tips so your rising seniors make the most of their vacation time.

It’s the summer before your last year of high school. Freedom beckons – well, till college starts. The summer months are a time to unwind, and also, for the savvy rising senior, a perfect opportunity to make the best impression come college application season.

Here are 7 ways to put those precious summer weeks to good use:

1. Prepare your college wishlist

Most college applications won’t be due till around January. But you’ll need a head start to finalize which universities you’re applying to. Narrow down that list to your top choices, learn more about their application processes and what they involve in terms of material and deadlines. Some universities use the Common Application.

Consider using some of your summer freedom to knocking out your college application essays. With plenty on your plate come senior year, you can draft and revise essays to fine tune what you’d like to emphasize about yourself, your academics, and your aspirations.

If you’re applying early decision or have a packed Fall semester coming up, it makes even more sense to use your summertime productively.

2. Build up your activities/skills

Summertime is an opportunity to polish up your resumes – an all-important part of any college application. Colleges like to see well-rounded candidates, who balance academic performance with personal initiatives beyond schoolwork.

Consider potential summer internships that can build your knowledge and experience in the workplace, or find a part-time/temporary job. Volunteering for a cause or non-profit can also be a valuable experience personally, and for those applications.

3. Work out finances

College isn’t cheap.

Rising seniors should pay special attention to financial planning. Research what scholarships and financial assistance your dream colleges offer, and if you’re eligible, the application process for federal financial assistance, FAFSA. You should also investigate if there are any open scholarships that can go toward meeting your financial needs ahead of college.

Saving up money for college-related expenses – books, class material, food, travel costs – can help put you well ahead of the debt curve, and alleviate some of those early college financial woes.

4. Improve your marks

Most of your high school classes are behind you, but there’s still time to boost your school marks. Taking a short pre-college course or summer school program can give you the academic edge.

5. Study for ACT/SAT

As a rising senior, you’ve likely already sat the ACT or SAT. Perhaps you need to take the exam again, or want to raise your scores. Summer ACT/SAT prep is a solid way to use your summertime effectively, so you can focus on schoolwork come Day 1 of senior year.

Check out the remaining ACT/SAT test dates for 2018.

6. Keep Reading

Reading is a student’s best friend, at least when it comes to sharpening your reading and critical thinking skills. Both of those skill sets are crucial for college-bound seniors, and besides, they’ll serve you well in the years ahead.

7. Work with your tutor

If you see a tutor during the school year, put some thought to areas where your tutor can help you. Tutors are fantastic resources to assist with your test prep needs and preparing those college essays and applications. Ask whether they could help with any of your pre-senior year goals over summer.


With the right attitude and time management, rising seniors can enjoy their well-deserved summer breaks and spend some quality time working on their pre-college to-do lists. Getting the head start now will save you plenty of time – and stress! – down the line. Good luck!