What are the best three things about the school year? Duh. June, July and August of course! Camp, summer jobs, new friends and relationships, and, most importantly, NO SCHOOL!
The long summer break is a double-edged sword, however: virtually no one uses the summer to advance his or her learning or to advance his or her chances for college admissions. Given the increasingly competitive nature of the game (see last week’s blog on Reducing Stress), summertime represents a phenomenal opportunity for the ambitious student not only to enhance his or her education (not to mention keeping up with the international competition, who are in school 10 or 11 months out of the year), but also to leap ahead of the vast majority of students, who will be losing ground between June and September.
What does the research on the impact of summer vacation on high school students say? It’s not pretty. Our students actually go backwards in their learning. More than simply forgetting the specific content of the classes they just completed, students also lose ground in study skills, vocabulary, general math knowledge, and intellectual curiosity.
So what can you do to seize the once-a-year opportunity the summer brings? At CollegePrepExpress, we certainly want you to have a great, relaxing summer and to recharge your batteries for the coming year. But we believe you can enjoy your summer AND advance your chances for college admissions at the same time by devoting, say, ONE HOUR a day to college prep. Think about it: one hour compared to what you’re used to during the school year (travel to and from school time, time in school, and homework/study time)!
If you’re willing to devote a small amount of time each day, the next question is, how best to use that time to maximize your college acceptance rate? Easy: focus on grades, test scores, and applications, the three things colleges count most in making their decisions. Do you have one or two subjects that tend to give you the most difficulty and stress and bring down your GPA? Then consider getting tutored in that subject. Could your writing in general or study skills across the curriculum use some tweaking? Then consider tutoring or a workshop in those subjects. Are you an in-coming junior or senior with PSATs, SATs, and ACTs on the horizon? Then definitely consider carving out time for standardized test prep. Do you have applications to write and interviews to schedule? Then get going on your personal essays and hone your interviewing skills in one of our several programs.
The bottom line is this: there is enough time in the day to have an awesome summer AND leave the competition in the dust by carving out a little time each day to strengthen the weakest links in your college admissions chain. We’re here to help.