Summer offers a valuable stretch of time for high school students to focus on preparing for college admissions. Setting specific goals for the summer can help students make the most of this time off, enhancing their college applications and easing the stress of the admissions process. Here’s how students can set and achieve impactful summer goals:

First and foremost, students should identify areas that need strengthening in their college applications. This could be academic subjects, standardized test scores or extracurricular involvement. Setting clear, achievable goals in these areas is the first step toward a stronger application.

Academically, students might aim to improve in subjects that are critical for their intended major. Enrolling in summer courses or seeking tutoring can help. For those planning to take or retake standardized tests like the SAT or ACT, dedicating time to preparation is crucial. Setting a target score and following a structured study plan can lead to substantial improvements.

Summer is also an ideal time to deepen involvement in extracurricular activities or pursue new interests. Students might take on leadership roles in existing clubs, volunteer in the community or start a personal project. These activities not only enrich the student’s experience but also demonstrate initiative and passion to college admissions officers.

Lastly for younger students, summer can be used for college research and visits. Understanding the offerings and atmosphere of potential colleges helps in making informed decisions and tailoring applications to each school. For rising seniors, students should set aside time to begin drafting college essays. Starting early allows for ample time to reflect, write and revise, resulting in more thoughtful and polished essays.

Setting summer goals with a focus on college admissions gives students a clear direction and purpose. By the end of the summer, these efforts can significantly enhance their readiness and confidence as they approach the college application process.

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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