The Guide to the Perfect Pre-Senior Year Summer

Category Student Voices


Gaby Class of Alumni
Authored on April 22, 2016


You’re a rising high school senior.

Perhaps you’ve been told to have it all figured it out. So you tell yourself, “this summer I’ll do something amazing!”

Every year, students go into the application process believing that they don’t stand a chance--perhaps because their summer experiences don't carry a big name or they simply didn’t do anything. That is one of the biggest misconceptions of the college application process. After all, ‘amazing’ is subjective. Beyond that, there’s the pressure of getting the essays, and recommendations done before the first of August.

More realistically, you’re a rising high school senior. And you’re stressed/nervous/excited. So, what do you do?

Screenshot of Homer Simpson with a blank stare

Volunteer or get a part-time job

You cannot go wrong with either. Spending time engaging with and giving back to your community is always a memorable experience. Find an organization you’re interested in or just try something new.

Work on college applications

Okay, so applications are not *technically* out yet. But this is a prime time to get started on those essays! You’ll appreciate all the free time to review and edit come fall, when deadlines are quickly approaching. Get in contact with a teacher, mentor, or current college student to flesh out some ideas. Ultimately, write about something unique and special to you!

Screenshot of a cat typing on a computer

Narrow your college list

Having a set list of colleges you plan on applying to will make the actual application process so much easier. Talk this over with people and explore the colleges’ websites. And if you get a chance to tour some campuses, definitely do it. When you go back to school in the fall, make sure to notify teachers about upcoming deadlines on recommendations

Do something you love

This piece of advice sounds simple enough. Of course you’d do something you love! However, reality sometimes strays far from the ideal. You might be stuck in the mindset that your summer can make or break your application. I can speak from personal experience that that is certainly not correct--I spent two summers at home, doing absolutely nothing. Think of your application as a storybook, with rising action and setbacks, and a triumphant resolution. All chapters are necessary to paint the complete character.

Screenshot of a couple sitting on a beach under an umbrella

One summer experience, or lack thereof, fits into your entire, beautifully complicated, story.


Gaby Class of Alumni