Get matched with vetted scholarships and enter our
I’m a high school student I’m a college or graduate student
100% Free. No Spam.
    Start typing in the text field above
    Advertiser disclosure

    Student-centric advice and objective recommendations

    Higher education has never been more confusing or expensive. Our goal is to help you navigate the very big decisions related to higher ed with objective information and expert advice. Each piece of content on the site is original, based on extensive research, and reviewed by multiple editors, including a subject matter expert. This ensures that all of our content is up-to-date, useful, accurate, and thorough.

    Our reviews and recommendations are based on extensive research, testing, and feedback. We may receive commission from links on our website, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted. You can find a complete list of our partners here.

    10 Ways to Rock Your Summer Before Senior Year

    By Will Geiger

    Will Geiger is the co-founder of Scholarships360 and has a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. He is a former Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at Kenyon College where he personally reviewed 10,000 admissions applications and essays. Will also managed the Kenyon College merit scholarship program and served on the financial aid appeals committee. He has also worked as an Associate Director of College Counseling at a high school in New Haven, Connecticut. Will earned his master’s in education from the University of Pennsylvania and received his undergraduate degree in history from Wake Forest University.

    Full Bio

    Learn about our editorial policies

    Updated: December 8th, 2023
    10 Ways to Rock Your Summer Before Senior Year

    The summer before your senior year is an exciting time. With college just over a year away, it can feel as though you have the world at your fingertips. To help you make the most out of those warm months, we have assembled a checklist of ten meaningful ways you can spend your summer before senior year.

    We hope that you’re able to incorporate many of these tips into your summer! Remember – we only have so many summers during our youth, so make sure to balance out the hard work with some rest and relaxation!

    Without further adieu, here are ten ways to spend your summer before senior year.

    Don’t miss: Free summer programs for high school students

    1. College visits

    We’ve included this one first because it embodies a nice mix of entertainment and accomplishment. College visits can be a great way to get an idea of what you are looking for in a school. Doing them over the summer can be a good way to see some campuses without having the added stress of schoolwork to take care of. Keeping track of your visits with a college comparison spreadsheet is always a good idea!

    Keep in mind, summer college visits will be a different experience than visits during the school year. Unless the school has a large population of students who take summer classes, you won’t actually see the campus “in action.” That being said, since most students are unable to do all the visits they’d like during the school year, it’s a good way to get a head start and see some schools that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.

    They can also be a great excuse for a road trip with friends. You can combine a college visit with a vacation, and manage to get a little perspective on your college search during a fun trip out of town.

    Also see: Tips for planning a college tour

    2. Volunteer opportunities

    The summer before senior year is a great opportunity to give back to your community and work in a volunteer position. As you may be moving away to school soon, it’s one of your last chances to serve the community that you grew up in. 

    What’s more, many high schools require a certain number of volunteer hours for students to graduate. Accomplishing these hours over the summer helps ease the workload for students during the school year. You’ll be able to devote more energy during the school year to academics, other extracurriculars, college applications, and test prep.

    Finally, volunteer opportunities can be a great asset on college applications. They show that a student is motivated to make a difference in the world and hopes to make a positive impact on their community. For this reason, it can be beneficial to supersede your school’s volunteer requirement and volunteer as much as you can. Beyond the philanthropic reasons to volunteer, getting those hours in can be very beneficial in the long-run.

    Related: Top summer programs for high school students

    3. Study for the ACT/SAT

    This ranks low on the list in terms of its fun-value, but very highly in terms of its importance! Since you have no schoolwork to take care of during the summer, your mind is ripe to prepare for tests. You can take online tests, buy books to prep, or even enroll in a test prep course or find a tutor. Remember, there are plenty of free study guides for both the ACT and SAT!

    Your studying will be most effective if you make a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Instead of sticking to material you’re familiar with, try to focus on the things that confuse you the most. While these may be the most frustrating to engage with, they are the topics that you’ll benefit the most from studying.

    Also see: What is a good SAT score?

    4. Find an internship or job

    It’s never too early to get some work experience under your belt! In addition to the benefit of spending money or bolstering your college savings, internships and jobs can help you decide what type of career you’d like in the future. The earlier you start trying things out, the earlier you get an idea of what type of job suits you.

    What’s more, students with internships and jobs can include this in their college application. No matter whether your job was an office job or a cashier position, admissions officers will view this experience favorably. It shows that the student can competently navigate the world, balance responsibilities, and perform in a non-academic environment.

    Also see: Top 15 internships for high school students

    5. Work on your college list

    Summer is a great time for relaxation and self-reflection, free of the business of the school year. Students can take advantage of this by working on their list of potential colleges to apply to. This does not need to be an intensive or laborious task; rather, it’s a good thing for students to keep in the back of their minds during the summer.

    Whether you are talking to a friend or family member who is back on break from college, walking past a college campus in your city or town, or watching a movie set on a college campus, keep your college choices in the back of your mind and use your experience to fine-tune your idea of where you’d like to go to college. 

    This should be a relatively painless task, and the earlier you start, the better-developed your preferences and ideas will be when it comes time to make a decision!

    Also see: Top summer music programs for high school students

    6. Pursue an independent project

    The unstructured time of summer offers a unique opportunity for students to pursue a project of their own design. Whether that be a project in your community, an independent artistic project, or taking up a hobby such as knitting, summer is the time to do it! You’ll have much more time to do whatever interests you, and be able to devote more energy to it than you would during the school year.

    7. Consider which teachers to ask for letters of recommendation

    One major part of college applications is a student’s letters of recommendation. Summer can be a great time to ponder which teachers you’d like to ask to write your letters. It’s important to put a lot of thought into this, as choosing the right teachers can lead to much stronger letters. Aside from thinking about which teachers you have the best relationship with, try asking around other classmates and see which teachers put in the most effort into their letters.

    Also see: How to ask for letters of recommendation

    8. Hone your talents

    Are you hoping to continue on with a special talent you have through college and beyond? Summertime is the perfect time to lose yourself in whatever your passion is. Get your soccer moves down, perfect that signature recipe you have been working on, or start your novel–you never know where it will lead, but learning is guaranteed! 

    9. Apply for scholarships

    Not to rush life, but before you know it you will be thinking of how to pay for college. It’s not too soon to apply for scholarships, as there are plenty of opportunities for high school juniors and rising seniors. Get a head start now; make a plan to apply to a scholarship a week and reap the rewards when that college bill comes in!

    10. Enjoy your summer!

    Finally, remember to enjoy your summer. Although there are many things you can do to get ahead during the school year, don’t forget that it’s your time to relax and enjoy the summer weather. Make time for your family, your friends, and your own passions. Read books, take trips to your favorite places, and take a deep breath. You’ve earned it over your long year of schoolwork!

    Start your scholarship search
    • Vetted scholarships custom-matched to your profile
    • Access exclusive scholarships only available to Scholarships360 members
    Get Started

    3 reasons to join scholarships360

    • Automatic entry to our $10,000 No-Essay Scholarship
    • Personalized matching to thousands of vetted scholarships
    • Quick apply for scholarships exclusive to our platform

    By the way...Scholarships360 is 100% free!

    Join For Free