Keeping it Reel

7 Things You NEED to do the Summer Before Senior Year

You just finished your junior year, and you are on top of the world. As the seniors prepare for college in a flurry of stress and excitement, you put your feet up, your shades on, and relax. You’re about to be the head of the school – a senior at last.

But wait that means in no time at all you’ll be preparing to graduate, preparing for college! You’ll be starting real adult life! You’re not ready for this! What the heck?! How did it happen so quickly!

Woahwoahwoah, slow down. With a little planning and effort, you’ll be as prepared as can be to take on your Senior year and start an new and exciting chapter of your life. You just need to know what steps to take.

And that is where I can help. If you want to minimize stress and maximize opportunity, there are a few things you should do this upcoming summer (hint: they don’t involve going to the beach).

Check these 7 things off your summer to-do list, and you’ll be ready to take on the world when fall rolls around.


1. If you haven’t already, plan out your course schedule for senior year

If you haven’t already made a Senior year course schedule, it is time to get started. Senior year is your final chance to raise your GPA, take any fun classes you’ve always wanted to take, and finish up any classes required for graduation.

With college applications looming, you won’t want to pack your schedule with too many hard classes, but try not to go to light either – it’s easy to get lazy when things are too easy.

If you can meet with your guidance counselor, do so. They should be able to help you form a course schedule that balances necessity and enjoyment.


2. Take/Retake the ACT and SAT

Most colleges require that you have an ACT and/or SAT score on file for admittance. If you have not yet taken these tests or are not happy with your scores, be sure to schedule a time to take them. While studying for a standardized test may not be the ideal summer activity, it’s not something you’ll want to worry about during your final school year.


3. Find a summer job

You might be thinking, “Really? A summer job? What does that have to do with college?” Well, actually, a lot. Getting a summer job shows admissions staff members you are willing to work for what you want, you have some amount of self-discipline, and you are responsible.

Alan Sheptin of Sheptin Tutoring Group has this to say about summer jobs:

I always tell my students to show that they can undertake responsibility. One of my favorite activities for my students is to have them take on a summer job. It can be anything from working as a camp counselor to coaching youth basketball, to working at a local McDonalds. It shows an admissions office that a student is responsible, can manage his or her time and is willing to earn their keep.

While your educational accomplishments may be able to show these things as well, , they all say that when it comes to school, you can be responsible and disciplined. A summer job speaks to another setting entirely. When it comes to a work environment, you demonstrate the same character as in the classroom.


4. Make your college list

Making your college list is the first step to choosing a college – something you want to do sooner rather than later. We have a blog post that tackles this topic more thoroughly, but below are a few suggestions for getting your list started and narrowing it down.


  • Identify your interests and the college programs that match them.
  • Identify things you NEED a college to have and things you WANT a college to have.
  • Research colleges that match your needs and offer your programs of interest.
  • Talk to your parents about budget.
  • Continue your research and narrow your list down, taking into account your wants as well as your needs.

Making a college list is what really gets the ball rolling when it comes to making your college decision. With a list in hand, you’ll know where to apply, where to visit, and have a starting point for your research and discussions with your parents and counselors.


5. Start thinking about your college essay

You don’t have to finish or even start your college essay in the summer leading up to your Senior year, but you should start thinking about it. Look up a few different prompts and set the gears in your head turning.

In doing this, you’ll have a few great ideas in your head (or better yet down on paper) when the time comes to write your essay.


6. Apply to a few colleges

Alright, so if you want to knock this one off your summer checklist, you may actually have to finish your essay during the summer (sorry). Completing every single one of your college applications during the school year can be stressful and adds a lot of work to your plate. Don’t overburden the future-you with fifteen different applications. Knock a few out over the summer or start the Common App.


7. Schedule campus tours

Visiting a college campus is normally at least a day trip. That means during the school year you will either lose a Saturday or Sunday or have to take a day off of school. Now, I know taking a day off doesn’t sound too bad, but you never know what your schedule is going to look like. You might end up needing to schedule a tour right before a big test. Do yourself a favor and schedule a few campus tours for later in the summer or earlier in the school year.

Want to take care of one of your applications right now?

If Columbia College Hollywood is on your list, why not get a jumpstart on your application right now? You can click below to download our Application Checklist. It will give you an outline of our application process, informing you of everything you need to do to become a Columbia College Hollywood student!

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Topics: Admissions

CCH Staff

Written by CCH Staff

This blog is a collaborative effort by CCH staff and administration who want to share their knowledge with the film school community and prospective students.

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