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Rising Seniors: How to Make the Best Use of Your Summer Before All Hell Breaks Loose

Summer College Planning for Rising SeniorsIt’s coming and there’s nothing you can do about it.  The idea of it probably makes you nervous and excited at the same time.  After all, the unknown can be exciting, but it can also be frightening.  And what exactly is that unknown? Your senior year in high school.

For most rising seniors, there’s nothing more pressing on your brain than what your senior year may hold.  Senior year means prom, senior class trip, maybe even a senior prank or two. It also possibly means saying goodbye to friends and loved ones.  All that to say, you probably look towards your senior year with bittersweet and conflicted emotions. 

But you can worry about all that in the fall, right? It’s the summer before your senior year and the stress and responsibilities that await you might seem far away.  You have an entire summer before you have to make huge decisions about your future and you’re probably wondering what’s the best way to make use of your summer before all hell breaks loose.

Below are a few ways you can use your summer break to your advantage:

Plan, Plan, Plan

Even if you aren’t a planner, now might be a good time to become one.  If you’ve been procrastinating and haven’t seriously thought of where you would like to go for college or who you should get to write your recommendations, now is the time to tie up those loose ends. If you haven’t done so already make a list of all the colleges you intend to apply to.  Make a list of everyone’s help you’ll need in the process from your college counselor to maybe even your parents.  Make sure all deadlines are noted for any scholarships or grants.  Double check that all your academic requirements have been completed or are scheduled to be completed during your senior year.  Whether you use a spreadsheet or an app to keep yourself organized when it comes to college and scholarship applications, now is the time to review it to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

Volunteer or Intern

Next, spend the summer doing something meaningful that will distract you from the unknowns coming in the year ahead.  For instance, consider volunteering.  When you’re doing good for others and making a positive impact, you’ll feel less stressed and more in control of your own future.  Also, through volunteering, you might develop a skill or find an interest in something you hadn’t previously thought of, which might make you more inclined to eventually choose one college over another. For example, you might discover that you love building databases so you might find yourself suddenly leaning towards a college with a strong data science program instead of the college you had originally planned to attend.

Along those same lines, you might also consider using your summer to see if your intended major is something you will be interested in when you’re in the workforce.  Hence, if you’re interested in maybe pursuing graphic design as a career, see if you can get an internship at a graphic design company to get a feel for the work and environment you’ll most likely encounter once you’ve completed your college degree.  It never hurts to get meaningful work experience, and it’ll also give you a chance to see if your potential major is right for you.  Specifically, getting an internship in your prospective field and figuring out if you like it might save you the heartache of changing majors multiple times or bouncing from career to career, looking for the right “career fit”, once you have completed college.  Think about it: if you’re dead set on becoming a veterinarian, but you realize through an internship with an animal clinic that you faint at the sight of blood, isn’t it better to know this before you even go to college and do a million prerequisites for veterinary science?

Thus, use your summer to not only make plans for your future, but also as a chance to explore your interest, likes, and even dislikes. Self-discovery isn’t underrated.  There aren’t many times in life where you’ll have the opportunity to just spend time getting to know yourself better.  Take the summer before your senior year to do exactly that.  

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