• Dr. Thom

A GEC Rising Senior Summer To-Do list


Photo by Cole Patrick on Unsplash

The first week of summer is always my favorite. Schedules start to shift as school activities hit the pause button, the weather is (usually) not yet in the dog days, and best of all, there’s anticipation for summer trips, beaches, cookouts, and days at the pool. There’s time to take a break from the school schedule which can be very hectic.


The same is true for rising high school seniors as they enter into a particularly important summer season. It is true that the senior year has a lot of things packed into it, especially when it comes to the college application process. That is exactly why we recommend unpacking some of that work and handling it over the summer.


We talk a lot about the compounding effects of “small assignments” which refers to investing small portions of your time to the college search over a long period of time. This is counter to the wait and cram approach that most students will unfortunately take in the last 48 hours before a deadline. The mindset benefits of small investments of effort over a long period of time are subtle, but powerful, as the student feels prepared for the demands of the college search because they have been working on it “for a while now.”


Here are some small assignments for the rising senior in your household this summer:


  • Create a high school resume to use in the college search (this also encourages students to write descriptions of their activities which can be used on the Common App). We have published a how-to on high school resumes to help.


  • Research your college list and either add or subtract one college


  • Take a look at your summer travel schedule and plan a couple of “add-on” college tours.


  • Investigate how your summer job could actually help you learn more about a potential future career, although there is nothing wrong with a traditional high school summer job either.


  • Work on your personal statement. This is a huge milestone if you can finish your main essay over the summer. The Common App makes it easy by keeping the essay prompts the same year to year.


  • Investigate summer programs or even employment at your local college or university.


  • Visit a local college. Even if you do not want to go to college close to home, the more time you spend on a college campus, the more you learn about what kind of campus styles and environments you prefer.


And of course, most importantly, take time to enjoy some playtime, downtime, and family time. Summer is made for it!


Not working with us yet? Feeling stressed by the college search process? Let's chat.


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