Spring break can be a prime time to prep for a standout college application, and prevent stress closer to application deadlines. Use this much-needed vacation from school to consider what you really want out of college, and what you still need to do to get there.

prepping for college apps during spring break

1. Start Drafting Your College List

Do some soul searching over spring break to figure out what you want from your prospective colleges. Is your best fit college known for its chemistry department? Does it host a thriving theater scene? Talking to a college counselor about your dreams and goals can help you identify what’s important to you as you make your preliminary college list.

2. College Road Trip

A college website or brochure is no substitute for talking with actual students, visiting the science labs, sitting in on lectures, or grabbing lunch in the cafeteria. Make a plan to tour some of the schools that you are considering, and see if any of them could feel like home.

3. Make Time for Extracurriculars

Colleges want to know what you do with your spare time so that they can get a sense of who you are. This Spring Break try something new or investigate a career goal or study interest. Are you destined for a life in medicine? Shadow an RN for the week or volunteer for a local organization. Prove to colleges that your commitment to extracurricular activities isn’t tied to the school calendar.

4. Brainstorm for Your Application Essays

The 2017-18 Common App essay prompts are out. Plan topics for your personal statements by reflecting on the activities you care about. What are the aspects of your background, personality, and interests that make you unique? Who are the people who have influenced you? What experiences have challenged you?

5. Prep for the ACT or SAT

Whether you try some practice questions, review geometry concepts, or take a prep course, you’ll thank yourself later if you study now! Improving your score by a hundred points on the SAT or even one point on the ACT can significantly boost your chances of admission at many schools.

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6. Look into Financial Aid

Cast a wide net in your search for grants and scholarships. Dedicate some time this break to researching scholarships, including application deadlines and eligibility requirements.

7. Pick Your Senior Year Classes

Yes, your classes and grades still matter your senior year. Choosing honors and AP classes when you can shows schools that you are serious about college-level work.  Plus, high scores on AP exams can help you graduate college early and save you money on tuition.

8. Make Summer Plans

Summer counts! Whether you take a job as a camp counselor, practice your Spanish in Guatemala, or prep for the ACT/SAT, your summer activities can strengthen your overall application.


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