Making the Most of the Summer Before Senior Year

At the end of the school year, you are probably experiencing mixed feelings about the coming summer and your senior year. It is important to take a breather and rest during this time; however, you should also note that summer before senior year has been a critical period for preparing applications to colleges.By making these few months count, you will be ahead of others and in position to succeed when common application opens in August. The following are things you need to emphasize on this summer:

Visit Your Target Colleges

One major advantage of having an extended summer break is being able to visit the schools physically. However, brochures and website could only tell very little because they cannot substitute for setting foot on campus.

If possible, try as much as possible to go to all the target schools that you can reasonably go to. Check out each college’s website for tour times, info sessions, open houses or opportunities for on-campus interviews. You can visualize being a student at this place by walking around dormitories, seeing what classroom facilities look like and recreational spaces look like.

Of course, the cost of a college visit might vary based on how far you have to go. These visits are definitely worth the money if they are financially possible in order to gain a genuine feel for the schools and make sure you’re applying to the proper institution. An in-person visit gives you a sense of the place and fit.

Mark Your Calendar with Deadlines

Applications to colleges have an overwhelming number of deadlines. Almost all schools have three possible deadlines:

  •  Early Decision – Typically in early November
  • Early Action – Also around early November
  • Regular Decision – Anytime from January 1 to March 1

Note down the dates for financial aid applications, scholarship submissions, housing deposits, and other items for each of your prospective institutions. When it opens on August 1st, the Common Application simplifies this process by putting everything in one location.

But start planning now, rather than waiting until then. Make sure you remember those important dates throughout the summer. Being organized will prevent you from missing a deadline, which is the last thing you want!

Prepare for Interviews

An essential step in the college application process is the interview. Many colleges offer them as an optional component of the application. Making a good impression at an interview increases your chances of getting accepted, even if they are entirely voluntary.

Take some summertime to properly investigate potential interview universities. Prepare a list of questions for the interviewer and prepare well-thought-out answers for common interview questions about your objectives, background, and hobbies.

Asking a friend, parent, or instructor to conduct a fictitious interview with you is another smart move to help you practice expressing your ideas. Your impression will be enhanced if you are at ease and well-informed about the colleges you are targeting.

Draft Those College Essays

For many students, writing the personal statement and supplemental essays is one of the most time-consuming and difficult aspects of the application process. Spend some time this summer coming up with ideas and working on drafts instead of cramming them out at the last minute during your senior year.

Give your experiences, principles, objectives, and what makes you a strong candidate some serious thought. Carelessly written personal essays usually come out as forced or shallow. You can create something polished and impactful that showcases your strongest traits if you prepare ahead of time. Request feedback and assessment of your drafts from parents, teachers, and college advisors. Your college essay is your opportunity to shine, therefore you should make it as compelling as possible.

Line Up Recommendations

Choosing people to ask for letters of recommendation is best done with the aid of your junior year teachers and counselors who could give you nice recommendations for your applications. But don’t wait until fall, get ahead this summer by searching out the people you want to write your letters.

In general, it’s good to approach core subject teachers with whom you have been in a class for the whole year, met daily, and thus can talk about your ethics’ work and interpersonal skills. Do not hesitate to prioritize those teachers who know you well instead of necessarily those who gave you high grades.

Once 2-3 recommenders are identified, inquire if they can write such letters on behalf of students. If so, provide them any specific details required by colleges (i.e., grade transcript, resume, brag sheet etc.). It would also be kind enough if you would inform them briefly why you have chosen them and what traits or characteristics that they should emphasize on.

The key is giving enough time so that they can make an impressive submission before the deadlines come closer. Asking during summer gives them a great advantage over other applicants.

Outline Your Financial Plan

If your family doesn’t have a fat college trust fund, then paying for a university education takes a lot of forethought and planning. This is time-consuming and expensive due to the use of online net price calculators of each college and speaking to financial aid counselors about what it will cost you at each target school. Use our top5 colleges instead of this long process that will help you figure out what it will cost you at each target school within minutes.

Afterwards, identify financial aid and scholarships. For example, apply ahead of time for any scholarships so that you start searching for them during summer to make it easier on yourself.

Therefore, a strong financial plan should be put in place as early as possible reducing stress levels during senior year but also guaranteeing that one can afford their dream school.

Apply to Scholarships NOW

That being said, scholarships are not only awarded when you are already studying in college! There are thousands available to current high-school students which could ease the cost of tuition and fees.

Set aside time this summer to search for scholarships and apply, before senior year gets chaotic. And don’t just apply for the popular national ones; go for some smaller regional or local ones too because they have fewer applicants and hence higher chances of winning.

Allocate a few hours every week during the summer to work on scholarship applications and essays efficiently. A few private scholarships will definitely help!


A fruitful summer in this endeavor will place you well ahead of others come fall when it is time to make college applications. That doesn’t mean your senior year won’t be stressful or busy—however, by following these tips you’ll gain immensely over your peers.

Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy your last stress-free moments before the final year of high school. Early preparation for college is essential but also take breaks, have fun and create wonderful memories with friends! It’s all about balance.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *