Winter break offers an excellent opportunity for high school students to get a head start on their college admissions process. As parents, encouraging your teenager to use this time wisely can be beneficial, while also emphasizing the importance of rest and rejuvenation.

Here are some effective ways to help your teen make the most of their winter break:

  1. Encourage Exploration of Interests: Suggest that your teen spends time exploring subjects they’re passionate about. This could be through reading, watching documentaries or starting a small project. It’s a great way to enrich their knowledge and possibly identify future majors or career interests.
  2. Promote Community Service: Community service is more than a resume builder; it’s a chance for your teen to contribute positively and develop responsibility. Assist them in finding local volunteer opportunities or encourage them to start a community project.
  1. Support Standardized Test Preparation: If your teen is approaching testing, encourage them to begin preparing for the SAT or ACT. Guide them to useful online resources, library materials or short test prep courses. Consistent practice over the break can be incredibly beneficial.
  1. Explore Colleges Virtually: Many colleges offer virtual tours and information sessions. Help your teen take advantage of these resources to learn about different schools and narrow down their college choices.
  1. Assist in Developing a Four-Year High School Plan: Work with your teen to create a plan for their high school years, including academic goals, extracurriculars and potential leadership roles. Planning ahead can help them stay organized and focused.
  1. Emphasize Rest and Rejuvenation: Finally, remind your teen about the importance of rest. A relaxed mind is more productive and creative. Encourage them to enjoy the break and spend quality time with family and friends.

By guiding your teen through these steps, you can help them transform their winter break into a productive and balanced period that lays a strong foundation for their college admissions journey.

About the author
Marc Zawel

As author of Untangling the Ivy League, Marc literally wrote the book on gaining admission to highly selective colleges. He earned a BA from Cornell University – where he met AcceptU’s co-founder – and an MBA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Marc chaired the admissions advisory board; he has also conducted alumni interviews for Cornell for more than fifteen years.

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