based on an article by Altogeterh.swe.org
Winter break is just around the corner! The break is a great opportunity for students to not only wind down and take a break from schoolwork and study-related responsibilities but also prepare and plan for their futures!
Here are some things you can do during winter break to help you prepare for college:
Student Clubs and Organizations: Now that you have completed at least one semester of high school and are mostly familiar with the organization and processes involved in high school, it is a good idea to start seeking out organizations or clubs that you can join as a student. These organizations typically offer opportunities for students to meet others and form friend groups outside of classes, have fun doing things they enjoy or find new passions, and gain valuable experience to include in a future job or college applications. The available clubs and organizations differ from school to school, but some common examples are Speech and Debate clubs, choir or band, varsity sports teams, Mathletes, the National Honor Society, community volunteering groups, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, STEM clubs, and more!
Read: The importance and benefits of reading can never be emphasized enough! While school days do not allow much time for personal reading outside of course requirements, school breaks are generally a great time to get some personal reading in. Whether you are into contemporary literature, classics, history, or science, reading is a great way for you to prepare for your college challenges. If you are not sure where to start, you can look up lists of books commonly required in literature classes or included in College Board exams.
- Research Colleges: While college is still a couple of years away, you can start researching your college options and rank them according to your current priorities. Among other factors to consider in your ranking are the college location, tuition cost, available academic study options, and extracurricular opportunities.
- Research Majors and Careers: You definitely do not need to know at this point what college major you are interested in studying or what career you would like to pursue. However, it is never too early to start researching the options you have. You can begin with careers related to the subjects you enjoy most at school, or you can research uncommon careers that you have never heard of before. If you find a profession that interests you, you can reach out to others who have pursued it to learn more about it.
- SAT Prep: Most students take the SAT exam in April of their junior year, and many students will take the exam multiple times before graduation. Many colleges require an SAT score for admission and for determination of scholarship eligibility, so it is very beneficial to complete some form of preparation for the exam. Often your local library will have SAT prep books that you can borrow over winter break. The College Board website also has some practice exams and other preparation resources.
- Schedule College Tours: Since you will be applying for college in less than one year, scheduling college visits and tours over the next few months or for the upcoming summer is a good idea. You may spend several years at your selected college, so it may help to see the college campus to help determine which college is best for you. Some colleges even offer virtual tour options to help students avoid unnecessary travel, especially during the pandemic.
- College Applications: Make sure that you complete and submit your college applications within the deadline specified by the college. You can ask your senior advisor/counselor or a teacher to review your college application essays and provide feedback before you submit the application.
- Research College Finance: College can be costly, so it is important to understand the different options you have available to help pay for tuition. Make sure you complete and submit your FAFSA application on time to find out what financial assistance is available to you in the form of federal grants and loans. You can also apply for local or national scholarships to help pay for college tuition, books, or housing.