The summer is definitely a well-deserved break for students to relax and recharge for the upcoming school year. But it's also a critical time period for parents and students to start game-planning ahead for a number of important admissions-related activities, including: SAT/ACT test preparation, beginning work on writing samples or visiting/research potential colleges. After all, once the school year begins, your son or daughter is going to see virtually all free time disappear under the weight of a full course load and extra-curricular activties. The sooner you can impress it upon your child to begin the heavy lifting now (in balance with leisure time), the more likely that the college admissions process during the academic year will become more manageable and free of stress.
One good place to start in building some potential summer goals as it relates to preparing for college applications this Fall is to review a typical timeline-based checklist. These checklists aren't a great fit for every student, but it covers the general milestones and pace of preparing for college admissions for most students. One list we like that seems pretty comprehensive and is worth checking out is from QuestBridge here.
We definitely recommend utilizing the summer months to begin work on the personal statement. Free of school and other distractions, your child may be better positioned to write a more substantive, unhurried essay. And of course, completing an initial draft early on will allow for plenty of time to edit and rewrite. Check out last week's Times blog post on college essay writing tips for a start.
Finally, take some time to weight the relative benefits of visiting prospective colleges over the summer with your child. The NY Times' Advice for Travel section is a nice place to look for advice on planning and making the most of college visits. Within the Bay Area alone, there are a number of great colleges and universities worth visiting over a weekend including but not limited to:
California Maritime Academy
Dominican University of California
Holy Names University
Notre Dame de Namur University
Saint Mary’s College of California
San Francisco Art Institute
San Francisco State University
Santa Clara University
University of California, Berkeley
University of California at Davis
University of the Pacific
University of San Francisco
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