Most schools around the country will be closed for Martin Luther King Day on January 16th and for Presidents' Day on February 20th. Oftentimes, families use these long weekends for vacations. But there are a number of other ways to spend these school holidays which can jumpstart the college process or lay the groundwork for a meaningful project. Here are a few ways to spend these school holidays doing something that could help in the college process:
- Juniors can plan some college visits. While many college admissions offices aren't open on the weekends in the wintertime, they will be fully staffed to greet a large volume of visitors on these two national holidays. Check the schedule of the admissions office in advance. Families may need reservations for tours and information sessions given the anticipated number of visitors on those days. Remember that many colleges consider whether a student visited campus in the admissions process. Even if a college doesn’t keep track of this, college campus visits are important in determining if the college is a “match” for the student.
- Students can participate in local MLK Day events on January 16th. This is a rare opportunity to spend a full day giving back or contributing to the greater good. Don't just think about "participating." Consider leading, organizing, and cultivating the cause beyond the actual holiday. Colleges like to see sustained effort much more than a-once-a-year experience.
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- Block the day completely free to map out a goal that has been put on the back burner because of school and other commitments. If a student has an idea to write a book, conduct a research project, or create their own company, let one of these days serve as the start of their creative endeavor. There is no time like the present to follow your dreams.
- Take a practice SAT or ACT. It's rare for a high school student to have three to four hours to take a practice test, but this helps them get comfortable with the test and gives them a sense of how they would perform on the actual test day.
- Sleep in. Take stock. Recharge. If the student needs a day to catch their breath, they should do it. Sometimes a day with nothing on the agenda is exactly what a high school student needs. In fact, the student who recognizes that they need a break is self-aware and ready for what's to come.
Everyone has a different plan for how they want to spend these long weekends in January and February. That’s the beauty of individuality - which, by the way, is highly valued in the college process and in life. These ideas are merely suggestions. Students, just be authentic on these days and every day. Do something you are proud of every single day.