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The usual things to do over the summer aside from relaxing is get a job or internship, attend camps, take a college course at the local community college or online, and volunteer. All those things are good and you should be participating in these college application-worthy ideas. However, this to do list is more about making your senior year of high school a whole lot less overwhelming. Your high school graduation year should be enjoyable for you and your family. By getting these 7 things out of the way during the summer, your senior year will most likely be less stressful. Think about it, applying to college and financial aid is on top of your regular busy schedule of classes and extra-curricular activities. So come on let’s work smarter not harder!
7 Things To Do the Summer Before Senior Year of High School
1. Compare Cost of Colleges with Net Price Calculator
It is assumed that by now you have a rough idea of what colleges you are interested in applying. Before you begin applying to these schools you need to have an idea of how much it will cost you and your family if you were to attend any of the schools on your list. Knowing how much it will cost to attend any given college may help in narrowing your college list by eliminating any colleges that are way out of your family’s price range.
The great thing about using the Net Price Calculator is that it will show you what your potential financial aid package will look like if you decide to attend. Based on the information you enter on the Net Price Calculator it will show you the amounts of academic scholarship, grants, federal work study, and loans in which you are eligible. The information needed for the Net Price Calculator is information that will be found on your previous year’s tax return. Also information like GPA, Class Rank, and ACT/SAT Scores are helpful as well. The more information you can enter on the Net Price Calculator the more accurate of an estimate you will receive. Each college’s Net Price Calculator is set up differently and may ask for different information.
We recommend that you take the results from the Net Price Calculator from each school and compare the cost. This will give you a rough idea of what to expect when you begin to receive your award letters once you have completed the 2018-2019 FAFSA. It also allows you and your family more time to figure out how to pay for college. Please download our College Cost Comparison Calculator to compare all the information in one location.
2. Create a High School Resume
The benefits of creating a high school resume are threefold. A high school resume can help you when completing multiple college and scholarship applications. When you complete multiple applications it is extremely handy to copy and paste information from your high school resume rather than trying to find the information multiple times. Also some colleges and scholarship committees actually require a high school resume attached to your completed application. A high school resume can also help your recommenders write a better reference for you. Teachers and guidance counselors are asked by multiple students to complete letters of reference. If they have your high school resume they will be able to add detail, such as your involvement, into their letter of reference making the letter more personal. Your high school resume should contain these five sections, education, extra-curricular activities, work experience, volunteer work, and honors. Having a high school resume already completed before you begin applying to college and for scholarships will save you a ton of time. Please download our high school resume template to get started.
Related Post: Two Reasons Why a High School Resume is Important
3. Create an Account on The Common Application
At All*Star Financial Aid we recommend our clients use The Common Application. It is an application system with the purpose of helping students apply to over more than 700 colleges using only one application for admission and the same personal essay. Essentially The Common Application is a one stop shop for all your college application needs. This innovative organization has created one application that can be submitted to multiple colleges. By this time you should have a narrowed college list of less than 10 colleges in which you are interested. Before creating an account check The Common Application website to see if the colleges on your list are members of The Common Application.
After confirming that your student’s college list consists of The Common Application colleges, you are ready to create an account. Once an account is created, you can then begin adding colleges from your list using the “college search” tab. After you have added colleges, go to the “my college” tab. This is where you will view each college’s requirements and completion status for each requirement. Don’t get overwhelmed because it will look like a lot at first but that is okay because everything you a need to know is in one location instead of pulling information from multiple college websites yourself.
4. Write College Application Essays
So the great thing about using The Common Application to apply to college is they all use the same college application essays. Usually there are multiple essay prompts for you to choose from. Your essay should consist of 250-650 words on one of these prompts 2018 – 2019 Common Application Essay Prompts.
Working ahead on your college application essays will give you time to write multiple drafts and send it to others to proofread your work. Also your head will be clearer and you will be more relaxed over the summer.
Stay tuned for some tips on how to write the best college application essay.
5. Work Ahead on Scholarship Applications
A scholarship is free money to you. There are scholarships for everyone these days. The key is setting aside regular time to apply. Rather than trying to apply for scholarships during the school year when you are super busy, work ahead and apply while you have some free time over the summer. I just completed a general search on one scholarship search platform and 62 scholarships matches came up with deadlines spanning from May 2018 to January 2019.
Most scholarship amounts range from $500.00 up to $5,000.00. Say you worked on applying to scholarships 10 hours are week the entire summer (June, July, August) which is roughly 12 weeks. This comes to a total of 120 hours spent on applying for scholarships. If you receive a $1,000.00 scholarship that would amount to $8.34 an hour all of which you would keep because you would not be taxed like a regular paying job. The nationwide minimum wage is $7.25. I’m not saying don’t get a summer job, all I’m saying is if you dedicate a little time each week to applying for scholarships, it could result in a big payoff. It is always good to try to apply.
Related Post: The Best Guide to Finding Scholarships
6. Work on Getting Recruited for College Athletics
Unless you are a top tier athlete you aren’t on any coach’s radar. You will have to be proactive in getting noticed by a coach. The recruiting process for athletics is different for every sport and division however if this the summer before your senior year and you haven’t started, you will have a lot of catching up to do. We recommend the guide “How to Get Recruited”, by our friend Bryan Drotar at The Recruiting Code. The guide is a step-by-step plan on how to get recruited. It contains questions to ask coaches, email templates to send coaches, and the list goes one. No doubt this guide is a great investment. If you say we sent you, you will get a discount of the cost of the guide.
“The main point: Be proactive, the earlier in high school the better. Communication with the coaches is the key. Do your research and market yourself so you don’t get left out in the cold.” – Bryan Drotar, The Recruiting Code.
To Do's 2,3, and 4 Should Be Finished Before To Do #7
7. Apply for College
College applications should roll-over to the 2018-2019 academic year in early July. If you are using The Common Application and have completed steps 2, 3, and 4, you are over halfway there. Now it is a matter of plugging in all the information and completing any custom admission requirements from the various colleges in which you are applying.
The entire reason for completing the 7 to do’s over the summer is to have a more enjoyable senior year. The last year of your high school career is extremely busy and goes by super fast. I know it seems like a lot of work to do while you are on summer break, but believe me you will be glad you did it. Don’t forget things will pick back up in October when you will have to file the FAFSA and possibly the CSS profile. Again the more you can get done this summer the less stressful it will be for the entire family.
Can you think of anything else you could be doing this summer in preparation for applying to college?