Summer Timeline for Incoming High School Seniors

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Summer Timeline for Incoming High School Seniors


With fall college application deadlines looming right around the corner, the summer before senior year is pivotal for any college-bound high school student. Getting ahead and making the most of your time can alleviate the overwhelming stress that comes with college admissions. If you’re searching the web for specific ways to balance your pool time this summer with some college prep, read on for helpful tips from industry experts!

1. Register for Standardized Tests

If you hope to resolve any ACT or SAT requirements ahead of the new school year, staying alert for test registration and testing dates remains crucial. Notably, with 63.5% of the top 200 schools nationwide moving test-optional for the 2022-2023 academic year, testing visibly moved down on the admissions totem pole for many colleges. But if you choose to send test scores in the application package, summer offers a July ACT and an August SAT. Regarding preparation, remember to continue your studies with prep books, practice tests, or tutoring sessions.

2. Narrow Down Your List of Schools

High school students may also want to dedicate some summer downtime to narrowing down their list of colleges. With expensive application costs, a compact set of choices will serve you well financially. Diligent research helps immensely in this streamlined process. As an excellent starting point, we recommend exploring the college’s official website or contacting existing undergraduate students for the inside scoop.

The enhanced flexibility in summer schedules—and the fact that these months directly precede application times—make this season the perfect window for visits. Time is limited and precious, so don’t back out of any scheduled tours. While visiting the campus, don’t just limit yourself to the guided tour. You’ll receive a well-rounded tour by exploring the libraries, dining halls, and popular hotspots in the nearby town.

Finally, the summer is a great time to organize your thoughts before application season. Make note of any non-negotiables you have, keep track of your test scores, and form a pro and cons list for the schools you’ve visited.

3. Personal Development – For Now and Later

Ample free time in the summer means that you have bountiful opportunities for self-reflection. Reflect on what academic and personal interests you want to highlight in your applications and begin to build on them. Doing so could look like taking college courses at a local community college, getting work or volunteer experience, or developing personal skills and hobbies. Your resume will appreciate the much-needed update.

4. Get a Head Start on College Application Requirements

The Common App opens as early as August 1. You can access schools’ external applications early by requesting to do so via email. Some schools will send you the application and some won’t, but there’s no harm in trying! Gathering information and getting started on completing these forms could be a huge time saver. Other essential application items include a personal essay, two letters of recommendation, and a resume.

Make use of any summer creativity by engaging in some personal exploration to brainstorm topics you can write about in your admission essay. Think now about whom to ask and begin to request recommendation letters to avoid unnecessary rushing and possibly missing deadlines in the fall. Finally, look at online templates or speak to a college advisor regarding assembling your resume.

One last summer route for application prep is exploring scholarship and financial options. Consideration of policies at specific schools, as well as your family’s financial situation, is key. Your application may require FAFSA forms, a CSS profile, and supplemental essays. So, complete your research early.

Setting Yourself Up for College Admissions Success

Truthfully, this summer is just the beginning of your journey to higher education. The stress is temporary, and the hard work you put forth will set you up for admissions success and a great four years ahead. Don’t forget that you do not need to bear this burden alone! To ensure your testing success and for all your test prep needs, take a look at the wealth of tutoring and college prep services offered by CATES Tutoring, Mindfish, and  Crimson Review.