8 Ways to Make the Most of Your Summer Before College

College Admissions


After a tough year of school, no doubt you’d love a fun and easy summer. But while you enjoy the break from your school routine, don’t make the mistake of wasting this valuable free time. There are lots of things you can do now that will make you a stronger candidate when you’re applying to colleges — and the good news is that most of them have other benefits, too. Here are some ideas.

How can you make the most of your summer before college?

  1. Sign up for a class or other academic program. Taking a class at a local college or participating in an academic camp will show admissions officers that you’re intellectually curious and serious about learning. It can also help you get ahead academically, explore a possible major or career field, and maybe even earn college credits. You might make new friends and, if your program is at a college, you’ll get a taste of campus life.
  2. Play a sport, play music, or participate in another extracurricular activity. Colleges aren’t looking for just the most academically inclined students. They want well-rounded people on their campuses, and they appreciate students who develop their interests and talents in sports, music, art, and other activities. Extracurriculars also tend to help you develop discipline, teamwork, leadership, and commitment — all qualities admissions officers like to see.
  3. Go to work. Holding a summer job shows responsibility, and it can help you develop discipline, leadership, and problem-solving skills, along with skills specific to the field you’re working in. And it pays money!
  4. Hit the road. If you’re going on a family vacation, take this opportunity to learn. Depending on where you’re going and what you’re interested in, you might explore the history, art and architecture, or ecology of your destination. Develop your intellectual curiosity. It’s a quality colleges value.
  5. Study for the SAT. Now is a great time to study because you don’t have to worry about other classes. If you're choosing between different SAT prep providers and need more information on our courses, you can find it here.
  6. Brainstorm ideas for your college application essays. It’s not too early to think about what you’re going to write. Remember that your essay is supposed to tell colleges something about you, so think about interesting experiences you’ve had. When it’s time to write your essay, it will be easier if you have a lot of possible topics to choose from.
  7. Read. Reading helps develop your vocabulary, comprehension, and writing skills, all of which will benefit you in your schoolwork, on the SAT, and in college. If you can interest some friends in joining you, form a book club. Discussing books will develop your ability to analyze literature — and it’s a great chance to socialize, too.
  8. Have fun. Seriously. No one can go-go-go all the time. Spending the whole summer lying on a beach isn’t making the best use of your time, but you also don’t want to be worn out before school even starts. Make sure to relax and recharge.
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