Aah Summertime!  If you are a parent of a rising senior, you and your son or daughter are breathing a sigh of collective relief—11th grade is  behind us!

However, don’t let the lazy days of summer fool you.  There are a number of items that should be on your college ‘to do’ list which (if checked off over the summer) will make the transition to senior status much smoother.  Students and families we have worked with have found that they are more engaged and focused on their senior year when they have spent some time over the summer on the following items:

  • Visit schools–while the summer is not the optimal time for a visit because there are fewer students on campus.  It is a great time to get an initial or secondary ‘feel’ for the school. Summer visits are particularly important if you are considering early applications.
  • Register for the Common Application (August 1, 2012)–there are hundreds of schools that accept this application.  It streamlines the application process by allowing students to complete one application and send information to numerous schools.
  • Register for any standardized tests your student will take–SAT and ACT.
  • Practice for said tests.
  • Start writing and hopefully complete your college essay–remember everyone has a story to tell.
  • Put together a spreadsheet of schools you are considering –include important admission and financial aid requirements and deadlines.
  • Confirm dates that you will need recommendations completed with the teachers you have already asked to write in support of your application.
  • Update your activities resume–remember to include any recent leadership positions, awards, summer jobs, and volunteering.
  • Scholarship search.
  • Review and become familiar with the FAFSA (available January 1, 2013) and the CSS Profile (available October 1, 2012).

We know this list is long but if you post it where your student will see it daily and ‘chip’ away at it line by line–we promise that the start of their senior year will be less stressful and much more enjoyable.