4 Ways to Use Summer to Prepare for College

swimming poolSummertime has arrived and as high school seniors get ready for the next chapter in their lives, there are several things they can do to set themselves up for success when the falls rolls around. Here are four ideas that graduating senior can use – or high school juniors who want to get a jump on college prep.

  1. Work. Job experience is as crucial to your college experience as the classes you take. If you can, get a summer job in a field closely related to your desired major. This is a great way to find out if you really are on the right track. If your major is undecided, this is the best way to tap into your gifts, discover your talents and learn. Simply working to earn money is always helpful too. Extra shifts during the summer can pad your bank account- meaning less work and more focus on your studies come fall. Volunteering is second-best to working if you cannot find a paying position, and can afford to do it. Volunteering and/or internships are all the rage in the marketplace, which is good news for eager college students, especially those of you living with family this summer. Companies and nonprofit organizations will give you a chance to join them for a few months and learn the business. Work experience always pays off in the long run.
  1. Travel. Take as much time as you can to spread your wings so you can come into to the first semester of the new school year invigorated. Explore. Adventure. And keep it simple if you’ve got a budget. Consider visiting family you may not see for a while if you are going to college far away. Take day or weekend trips to your favorite spots near home. Traveling abroad during summer breaks is excellent preparation for college too. Experiencing the world gives perspective and truly broadens your mind, which is a prerequisite for college, right? But don’t over do it- See #4.
  1. Research. Research your college, the town it’s in, the culture- everything. Understand where you will be living, breathing and studying (hopefully) for the next 4 years (or more). Get a lay of the land. Check out every online resource available. Knowing the best pizza place in town will help your academic performance dramatically. Eliminate the awkward “walking into class late” experience by scoping out maps showing parking, bike racks, public transit and your route to class. If you know where you’re going, you’ll get there. And it will free you up for the best part of college- meeting people. And think how impressed they’ll be with your knowledge of pizza and parking!
  1. Relax. Rest. Rejuvenate. Preparing for college is more than buying the right sheets or emailing your roommate about who’s bringing what appliances. Preparing for college is about preparing yourself. Being prepared to be in a new environment means being rested, focused and ready. Honestly, how can anyone be focused or ready if they are exhausted? Summer fun is essential and mandatory. Summer fun to the point of exhaustion is idiotic. Pace yourself. Give yourself the time you need to rejuvenate so you are prepared come fall. Be relaxed. Be rested. Be ready. Exhaustion will come soon enough. In college it’s called “finals.”    

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