I know what you’re thinking: Yes! Junior year is over and I finally have time to myself. Worrying about college can wait for September. But what you don’t realize is that the summer before your senior year is a valuable block of time that, if used wisely, could be the difference between you scrambling to meet deadlines and you receiving admissions decisions long before the rest of your friends. Here are a few tips you should follow to maximize the productivity of your summer:
This is the perfect time to get a job.
As a 17 or 18 year-old, there are only a handful of things you can do on your own. Applying to college is one of them. Regardless of their level of authority--parent, guardian, or guidance counselor-- no one dictates your college choices except you and thus, this whole process requires a certain level of maturity. You might have relied on your parents or guardians for personal expenses until now, but if your circumstances permit, you should look into obtaining a part time job. The college application process is not only confusing, it can also be EXPENSIVE. Think of it as an investment in your future. (Don’t worry, ways to cut down costs can be found HERE.)
Consider doing a paid/ unpaid internship.
Whether your interests lie in the medical field, law, or business, chances are you can intern somewhere and learn more about that specific career. For example, my “major” at my technical high school was Finance, but I applied for all my colleges under Political Science. To make up for this educational gap, I could email several local law firms my resume at the beginning of the summer and ask if they offer paid/unpaid internships. A sample email:
My name is Odalis Flores and I am a high school senior who is currently planning to pursue a career in law. I am interested in gaining experience in an office-setting before attending college through a paid/unpaid internship with your firm.
Attached please find a copy of my cover letter and resume. Although I may be a novice, you can expect nothing less than a professional attitude and a strong personal work ethic from me.
Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.
I’d like to introduce this section with a video from one of my favorite Youtubers, none other than the quirky, cat-loving Anna Akana: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFyo3s6DQFw
Moral of the story: don’t bite off more than you can chew. Let’s put it into perspective. If I were to list every topic you are expected to keep track of during the college application process, that list would look something like:
Step 1. Have a bin/ box for college spam. You've probably been getting promotional mail from colleges over the country since junior or even sophomore year. It’s flattering at first, but by December, it will be borderline annoying and you will start to wonder how many trees were sacrificed to make that glossy poster of your dream school that hangs above your bed. Even after you make your final decision on which colleges you’re applying to, you’ll continue to receive those notices so instead of halfheartedly flipping through them, set them aside and destroy them after this whole process is over. You have better things to do.
Step 2. Figure out whether you are more comfortable using Excel spreadsheets or a good old-fashioned binder.
Different schools have different requirements, and there’s no better way to keep track of them than by compiling all the necessary information into one place. I personally like Excel more because you can edit as you go along and hey, you’re saving more trees! Sample spreadsheets with can be found HERE and HERE.
Written by Odalis Flores
More information can be given by Odalis Flores
Published: 28 February 2015 (Previously posted in the Summer Break Tips)
Updated: 1 March 2015