Never Too Early to Start Planning for College

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education Summer is a great time for high school students of al ages to get a leg up on the college planning process, according to Patricia Aviezer, president of counseling for American College Counseling, Inc. “During the summer months, students from high school freshmen to those entering their senior year usually have more time to focus on long-term goals such as getting into college,” explains Aviezer. Here are some suggestions to help students make the most of summer vacation while building resumes that will put their best foot forward when it comes time to apply to college:

Act on interests: High school students as young as incoming freshmen can begin to use summer vacation to explore interested and pursue passions. Demonstrated interest in a particular area, whether it’s music, sports, or an academic subject, is a key component that college recruiters look for in applicants. For example, students who think they want to be a veterinarian could volunteer one or two days a week at a local vet’s office or animal shelter. Doing so may confirm it is their true passion, or they just might learn it is not for them before committing to years of specialized education.

Dedicate some time each week to study: While it’s important to relax and recharge over the summer, students should carve out some time each week for academic pursuits. Next year’s juniors should consider enrolling in an SAT or ACT study course this summer or develop a self-study plan. Even younger students can begin to familiarize themselves with the PSAT. And, all students planning to take Advanced Placement courses next year should determine if their high school has summer materials.

Volunteer and make a difference: While summer jobs may be hard to come by given today’s economy, help always is needed at local libraries and hospitals, programs for the elderly, animal shelters and more. Students should make sure their volunteerism is a true reflection of themselves.

Keep a journal: No matter where the summer may take them, students should consider beginning a journal. Not only will it help them chronicle their activities throughout the high school years, but it will help improve writing skills and perhaps even become the seed of an idea for the ever-important college essay.

Take time out to learn more about you: Personality tests and career interest inventories highlight personal strengths and potential careers for which students may be well suited.

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