Spring break is around the corner, and while you certainly deserve some time to relax, there are a few things you can do during the week to improve your odds of getting into your dream school!
Visit some colleges.
Spring break is an excellent time to arrange college visits, since you won’t need to miss any school. Find out whether or not classes are in session during that week, schedule a tour, and book a hotel. You can make time to relax and explore the surrounding town as well so your vacation isn’t all work and no play.
Work on application essays.
The Common Application just confirmed their 2020-2021 essay questions, so high school juniors can feel free to start working on them over spring break. Whether or not you choose to write the full essays at this point, you can certainly start jotting down key points and building an outline. Starting early leaves you more time to make them perfect!
Study for the SAT or ACT.
If you haven’t scheduled your test date, you need to. If you have scheduled it, spring break is an excellent time to study for the tests. You can either block out an hour or two a day to work alone or with friends, or you can sign up for a week-long daily class to help you cover test-related concepts. To track your improvement, take a sample test on the Saturday that kicks off spring break, and another on the following Saturday and compare your scores.
Volunteer locally or overseas.
Do some good during your vacation by signing up for a volunteer position. You can volunteer for a local charity in your hometown or state, or if you were looking forward to traveling, volunteer overseas and have a new and exotic experience. A number of overseas volunteer programs allot time for you to explore the country you visit, so you’ll also get the cultural immersion.
Read a book.
If you’re headed to the sandy coast, consider trading out those light beach reads for one of the classics or a non-fiction book that will help you navigate the admissions process. There’s no reason to choose between having a relaxing vacation and improving your mind.
Improve your skills.
Consider taking a few free online courses to work on skills for your future degree – anything you learn now is a head-start in your college classes. EdX and Coursera both feature free courses from some of the nation’s top universities for you to complete at your convenience. For a small cost, you can even get a certificate acknowledging that you completed the course.
Work on your portfolio.
If you’re looking to major in art or writing, you likely need a portfolio for the colleges you’re applying to. Spring break is an excellent time to write a short story for that portfolio or work on a new art piece. If you already have enough completed work, you can put some time in on the presentation so that the college admissions officers will be greatly impressed.
Shadow or intern with someone in your chosen field.
For those who know what career field they plan on entering, take a week free of school as an opportunity to explore that job firsthand. Find someone in the industry to shadow or intern for during spring break, and revive your motivation to excel in college with the end goal being to someday be the person who gets shadowed.
Plan your summer.
Summer break may be months away, but the earlier you start planning, the better prepared you will be. Explore any volunteer work or internships you’re interested in and start working on the logistics involved, such as schedule, lodging, and budgeting for expenses. You can also plan on taking summer courses, whether it be to get ahead or to improve your grade for a class in which you did poorly. You can even get a summer job and bank some money to help pay for college!