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8 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 eight different 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 eight 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.

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

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. 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!

Related: Top summer law programs for high school students