05/12/2014 05:48 pm ET Updated Jul 12, 2014

Summer Before Senior Year: Get Going!

Your summer should be enjoyable with lots of vacation time. However, the fall semester will be here before you know it and, although you may not want to start your college process just yet, you'll be so happy you did once your senior classes begin. Summer is actually a relaxed time to begin this process with little stress. Do yourself a favor and create a calendar with set goals for the summer.

Below are some summer tips to help you alleviate worry when your school year begins.

Build your Activity Resume or Brag Sheet
This should be a rough draft and a work in progress (of your extracurricular activities, work experience, awards and honors) as you may want to add to this in the fall. Colleges generally do not look at activities prior to the ninth grade -- so make this about high school. List approximately how much time you spend on each and your position or role in the various activities. Writing a brief description of your part in each (up to 10 words) is a good idea too.

Begin your College Search
Create a short list of colleges that interest you and get on their mailing lists. You can visit websites or if possible the college itself. Look in state and out, public and private universities, more and less selective. Identify relevant cost factors.

Campus Visits
If you can't go far, visit colleges that are near you. If possible sign up and take the informational college tour. Seeing what colleges are actually like will help you make your decision when the time comes.

College Essay Ideas
This is generally about one passion, one experience or a person of influence who has had an impact on you. This is your unique story and you own it! Make it personal and reveal your character. Just let your ideas flow and perhaps keep a journal. When you begin a rough draft watch the word count as college essays can be anywhere from 50 -- 600 words

Organize Personal Information
Every college application will request family data. Having this information ready, will save you time when you fill out your applications. In addition, get a copy of your transcript as you will need this as well

Standardized Tests
Create a test prep timeline and learn when the tests are given and what the different colleges require. Two important websites are: and

You really just need 30-45 minutes every other day to work on this. Waiting to the last minute is not a good idea, as in addition to adding stress, students are not able to complete thoughtful applications. Do seek help and guidance

Enjoy the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer!

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