Tips from a Costa Mesa College Admissions Consultant: 5 Things College Prep Students Should do Before Winter Vacation

Summer is over, and high schoolers are back in the classroom. Students who are in the 10th through 12th grade are now prepping for college in addition to staying on track in their courses. The college prep years can either be a fun and productive time or they can become incredibly overwhelming and stressful depending on how prepared a student is and if they’re able to work efficiently. Although each student’s schedule will be tailored to their specific college goals, there are some things that every college prep student should do before they reach winter vacation.

1. Sign up for college entrance exams

It’s important to sign up for either the SAT or the ACT in advance of the actual test date because each testing program has strict cut off dates after which students will have to wait until the next test, sometimes months away. Once student know when they’re going to take the exam, they should take a practice test and get a baseline score. They can then work through a test prep booklet with the guidance of a tutor to assess their strengths and weaknesses and potentially improve their overall score before test day.

2. Take a college tour

College prep students will also benefit from taking a tour of some of the college campuses they are most interested in. Deciding without visiting the campus leaves students with a big question mark in their mind regarding their future college experience. It’s better for students to have an idea of what college life will be like to ease the transition. If students are not able to travel long distances to visit some of the schools on their list, they can visit their local university so that they can get an idea of campus life. Students can take an organized tour sponsored by the college, or they can go on their own with their family and take a look around (READ: 5 Things English Majors Should Do This Fall).

3. Get used to AP classes

Many students start taking advanced placement classes as early as sophomore year. These classes require students to study and test at a much higher level and require an incredible amount of homework. One of the best things students can do is get used to the rigors of this type of a course, so they don’t fall behind. They may need to work on study skills or learn how to study more efficiently, or they may need to develop more of a balance in their after school schedule. Students can also utilize the help of a tutor, study group, or their classroom teacher to get extra help when needed – our private Costa Mesa AP tutors are here to help you succeed.

4. Join a club or organization

In addition to working on academics and test prep, it’s important that college prep students have a chance to explore some of their interests so they can start thinking about what they might want to major in once in college. Most high schools offer several after school opportunities where students can explore personal interests. If a student is not interested in what their local school has to offer, they can often find activities for teens within their local community. Being involved in extracurricular activities help students find a balance in their schedule, allows them a chance to socialize with other motivated students, and looks great on college applications.

5. Refine study skills

Study skills and personal organization will become essential during the college prep years. Students need to get things done as efficiently as possible, so they have time to complete all of their assignments, study for entrance exams, perhaps work a part-time job or volunteer within the community, and also just enjoy some free time to themselves. At this point, most students will know what study habits work best for their learning style, but they may need to work with a tutor a few hours here and there to stay on track.

Our Costa Mesa private college admissions consultants have a 97% success rate. Call us today to learn more.

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