The end of school is just around the corner, and many students couldn’t be more excited. I remember this time of year as a high school student; I looked forward to taking a dip (or twenty!) in the pool, riding my bike around the neighborhood, reading, hanging out with friends, and sleeping in every day! One thing that I wish I had taken more seriously over the summer was using my time wisely to prepare for college (while still enjoying some lazy days and other fun summer activities).
Here’s a list of suggestions to make your summer a StepUp Summer of college preparedness! No matter what grade you are in, there are things you can do this summer to make sure you are prepared to go to college.
If you’re going to be in 11th grade next school year…
- Use the free test prep resources on UtahFutures.org to prepare for the ACT
- Make sure you are signed up for classes that stretch your mind and help you possibly earn college credit or even an associate’s degree: Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or Concurrent Enrollment (CE). Talk to your high school counselor to see what classes are available at your school.
- Play with the FAFSA4caster to see how much your college education will be and what you might get from the federal government to pay for school
- Keep applying for scholarships that match your interests
- Save money consistently and budget because a penny saved is a penny you won’t have to borrow later.
If you’re going to be in 12th Grade next school year…
- If you’re retaking the ACT to improve your score, keep using the free test prep resources on UtahFutures
- Practice writing personal statements and short essays to prepare for Utah College Application Week in the fall
- Make sure your senior year class schedule has courses that will help you earn college credit or prepare to enter college (AP, IB, CE classes can help save you money too!)
- Visit some of the schools here in Utah over the summer to learn about their programs
- Talk to your parents about college savings and the different financial aid options available like possible tuition reimbursement or discounts through their employers and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Visit FAFSA.gov for more information on how to apply for federal financial aid
- Make a scholarship agenda for the upcoming school year that includes the scholarships that you would like to apply for and their due dates
- Learn more about applying for scholarships by watching StepUp Utah scholarship videos: Searching and Applying for Scholarships, 4 Important Steps to Take When Applying for Scholarships
Remember that these are just suggestions! You can find many other ways to make your summer a #StepUpSummer to prepare for college. If you have other suggestions or need help preparing for a StepUp Summer, tweet or Instagram message me at @stepupjacob.
Jacob Newman is a Community Outreach Officer with Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA) and financial aid expert. Before working with UHEAA, he worked as a the Job Readiness Program Coordinator at the English Skills Learning Center. Jacob graduated with an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Brigham Young University in August 2016. He speaks Thai, Spanish, and American Sign Language. Follow Jacob on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @stepupjacob.