A Mid-Summer Checklist for Seniors and Younger Students

Summer should be a time for students to re-charge and enjoy the things that they don't always have time to do during the school year. In between summer jobs, hanging out with friends, and family vacations, students can also get a headstart on the school year and the college process.

As we reach the halfway point of the summer, here is a checklist for what rising high school seniors can do:

  1. Prepare and register for any remaining standardized tests. The SAT and Subject Tests are offered in August for the first time. The next date for the ACT is in September.
    BONUS: Here are the registration links for the SAT/Subject Tests & ACT

  2. Write the main college essay. The very best essays are written during the summer before senior year. Essay prompts on the Common Application and other applications are broad. Students can write about almost anything as long as it is authentic and personal.
  3. Start filling out applications. Most applications, including the Common App, will be updated starting August 1st.
  4. Visit colleges. This will help narrow down your list and also signal to the colleges that you are interested in them. Most private colleges factor in "demonstrated interest" in the admissions process.
  5. Review the admissions requirements for each college on the list. Some colleges will require filling out an extensive supplement with additional essays while others may ask for specific requirements based on the program the student applies to.

"One important thing seniors can do over the summer? Write their #college essay." TWEET THIS

Here are a few tips for rising juniors and younger students as well:

  1. Take a diagnostic ACT and SAT to determine which test better aligns with your skills.
  2. Reach out to a role model about a particular academic or extracurricular activity. Getting ideas on how to develop this interest over the coming school year can increase the impact that you make.
  3. Review summer packets or recommended readings before the school year begins. When students are prepared for the advanced level classes, they hit the ground running.
  4. Make an "impact plan" for the coming school year. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to run for a leadership role or do independent research? Have a goal in mind and pursue it.
  5. Review the admissions requirements for the colleges on your initial list. Are Subject Tests recommended or certain letters of recommendation required? Waiting until senior year to determine what you need may be too late.


Carving out time to focus on your future doesn't need to dominate the summer. But checking these things off your list will prepare you for a productive school year. The more you can tackle over the summer, the less hectic the start of the school year will be.