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Tips for a Productive Summer

Summer vacation is the best time of the year as a student. No school and lots of time to relax. This doesn’t mean that your summer needs to be unproductive. Here are some tips to be productive during the summer at various stages of your high school life.


Pre-Freshman

Before entering high school, take some time to enjoy the last amount of true free time you have. Join summer programs that you have interest in to narrow down your career and/or college major choices. Local government departments and community colleges often have many summer programs available. A quick search on the internet will pull up many of these programs.

Read as much as you can: it will help you become a stronger reader and writer. A lot of writing skills come from simply absorbing them through the works of other writers. Libraries will often have recommended reading lists for each grade level, and librarians are more than willing to aid you. The internet is another great resource as well.

Start thinking about college entrance exams as well. The key to doing well on the SAT or ACT is familiarizing yourself with the types of questions that appear on the test. Khan Academy has a great SAT prep course, and there are many SAT prep workbooks out there. Additionally, if you have any, prepare for upcoming AP classes. Barron’s and The Princeton Review have great workbooks for AP classes, and Khan Academy has a thorough curriculum for many AP classes.

Start thinking about possible schools and majors you want as well. This will be useful later on in high school.

Don’t forget to have some fun in whatever way you have fun as well. Read, watch movies, play video games, go on walks: enjoy your summer.


Pre-Sophomore

By this point, you have already gone through a year of high school, and probably have some idea on what is expected of you. This is the time to start really focusing on your future, especially if you plan on going to college.

Continue test prep, particularly SAT prep, as the PSAT/NMSQT occurs in the beginning of your junior year. Make sure that you prepare for AP classes as well.

Start building up your resume for college applications. Take summer programs that have a focus on a topic that aligns with your future plans: it will help you when applying for college. Look into internships as well. Interns4Good is a fantastic resource, and happens to be the way I found my internship with Astudia. All of the internships on the site are online, so you don’t have to worry about transportation.

If you’re old enough, start preparing to get a driver’s license. Driving is almost a necessity in the US, so getting a license sooner rather than later will make your life easier.

Again, it’s summer vacation. Find the time for yourself to relax amidst all this.


Pre-Junior Year

Junior year, in my opinion, is the most important year in high school for college-bound students. Everything big needs to be donor before your senior year so that you can send applications in easily.

Create a list of schools and majors that you want. This list doesn’t have to be concrete yet, but will give you a good idea of what you need to prepare. You may realize that you do not know what you want to major in, and that’s fine. Many people don’t, even in college. Just narrow down your interests further.

Continue test prep because it is best to get college entrance exams over with as soon as possible. Taking the SAT or ACT in the middle of your first semester of senior year can get hectic with all the senior events occurring simultaneously. AP exams are always important; don’t forget to prepare for them.

Start preparing for life after high school, as well. Continue with any internships you have, and search for new ones if you can handle it, to beef up college apps. Look into creating a LinkedIn account because it will save you time and effort down the road.

Once again, it’s summer. Take some time for yourself.


Pre-Senior

You made it to senior year, now you need to use everything you did to put forth the best version of yourself to colleges. Continue with test prep if you plan on taking the SAT or ACT in senior year, as well as AP classes. Hold onto those internships as well. It is helpful to prepare a packet with your resume, transcript, and a spreadsheet of deadlines for any teacher you want a letter of recommendation from before you begin school. This makes it easier on your teacher(s), in addition to you saving time during the busy school year.

Look into getting a summer job to save money. College is expensive: even with scholarships and financial aid, you still have living costs to cover. Work experience is a great extracurricular for college applications as well.

It’s the last summer you have as a high school student, so enjoy it; times like this will not return.


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