June has arrived and with it, the end of the school year for students from elementary school to law school. Summer’s not all baseball games, beaches, and barbecues, though, especially for those who may be applying to new schools in the coming year.
The summer is a great time to get a jump on the admissions process. I don’t advocate spending huge amounts of time focused on applications, tutoring, and other preparations, but even just a few minutes every day or week can make things easier on you come the fall.
Check out these simple ideas for ways that you can prepare for the rigorous admissions process without sacrificing all of your relaxing time this summer.
- Keep a journal. Even if you’ve never done so before, keeping a journal can be an outstanding way to keep your writing skills in shape during a break from school. In addition, it will give you something to review in the fall when you may be seeking inspiration or a particular story in response to a challenging admissions essay prompt. Rather than desperately trying to remember something you did months ago, you’ll be able to relive the experiences by scanning through your journal entries.
- Spend some time thinking about what’s important to you in a school. Educational opportunities are everywhere these days, and students at all levels are applying to more schools than ever, whether they are colleges, graduate programs, or even medical schools. With competition intense, some students have started applying to practically every school that they can think of. Despite this trend, it’s important that you think long and hard about what you want in your next educational institution. Otherwise, you could end up spending a substantial amount of time and effort submitting applications to schools that you have no interest in attending.
- Start exploring schools online. While some students are able to take extensive trips to visit dozens of colleges around the country, not everyone is so lucky. Thanks to the Internet, however, you can learn an enormous amount about most schools without leaving your desk. Why not take a few minutes every week to check out websites from schools that interest you. If you’re really ambitious, you can even take a look at their applications, particularly the essay prompts, and get a head start on thinking about them.
- Read. And I don’t mean read SAT guidebooks and AP English novels. Read things that you want to read. Read a broad variety of work, from your favorite blogs to local newspapers to national bestsellers. Many students forget how closely related reading and writing are; you’ll strengthen your writing skills without even noticing it by spending some time each day with your nose buried in a book… or computer… or iPad… or – well, you get the picture.
- Relax. Hey, you’ve made it through another school year. Even if you’re now working a summer job or unpaid internship, be sure to find some time to take it easy. Trust me – you’ll be glad you did once the fall rolls around.