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College Admissions: 4 Things Underclassmen Should Do Before Summer

Monday, April 29, 2013


It’s the home stretch for many high school students; just a few weeks remain in the school year. Although it’s tempting to lose focus as the warm weather and summer approach, this is a critical time for 9th, 10th and 11th graders. What students do now can have a big impact on their profile for admissions senior year. Here are a few things you should be doing in the final weeks of school:

Put in an extra hour each night on homework, papers or studying for exams.

It’s a sprint to the finish and the extra time will pay off. Often exams, papers and other final projects account for a large percentage of your grade. So, make study guides for exams, do several drafts of papers and get feedback from your teacher, and make certain to take advantage of any opportunities for extra-credit. Remember that colleges only look at year end grades-so forget the poor mark you got last quarter and finish strong. Put in the extra work now, and then relax this summer!

Position yourself for leadership next year.

If there are class offices you want to run for, now is often the time to declare your candidacy or speak to administrators about what you need to do in the fall. Also, consider what leadership positions are opening up in clubs, student government and on teams. Ask the advisor or coach about how you can be considered for those roles. Also, if there is a club that you have been thinking about starting at your school, now is the time to ask administrators about how to proceed, so you can formulate your plan over the summer and be ready to execute in the fall.

Put your best foot forward for AP Tests, SATs and ACTs.

Make weekends about preparing for these tests. Pickup test prep books at your local bookstore and do self study, take a course or work with a tutor. Whatever you do, spend several hours each weekend from now until the test dates preparing. Most importantly, get a good night sleep before your exams, eat a substantial breakfast in the morning, and remember your calculator and other essential tools!

Confirm your summer plans.

If you applied for jobs, are thinking about a travel program, plan to take a course, intend to participate in sports showcases, or want to do community service this summer-NOW is the time to finalize things. Next month may be too late, and colleges want to see students productive and engaged in the summer. You can still go to the beach and have fun with friends, but at least 20 hours a week should be spent doing something significant.

Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC which provides strategic, college counseling and athletic recruiting services for students. www.collegeadvisorsonline.com


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