THE BLOG
07/13/2016 06:08 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

10 Tips to Use During Summer Months to Prepare Your High School Senior for College Applications

The senior year of high school is a pressured time for most kids. They not only have to keep up their grades that colleges will look at, they have to begin to fill out applications, a hefty job. Here are some tips for some summer tasks that will lessen the burden in the fall.

10 Tips Parents Can Suggest to their Prospective High School Seniors

1. Go online and get your applications early so you see what's in store.
2. Write the essays during the summer, so your teachers and guidance counselors can edit them in the fall.
3. Visit some college campuses to acquaint yourself with the type of environment you are looking for such as city or country life.
4. Talk to kids who finished their freshman year and get pointers about their schools. What do they like and not like about their schools and learn what helped them through their senior year.
5. If you're not satisfied with your SAT or ACT scores, you have another chance in the fall. Practice taking some tests or take a prep course. Practice tends to improve test taking skills and narrows down the subject matter you need extra prep for.
6. Discuss with your parents their financial expectations. Check into loans and scholarships and find employment over the summer for spending money.
7. Discuss with your parents how far you want to go away from home or if you want to commute. In addition to finances and travel costs, feelings about being far away from home can all be explored.
8. If you know interests that you might major in, volunteer as an intern in the area you are planning to specialize in. It looks great on your application but most important it gives you a chance to see if this is work you may want to do.
9. Begin to write a resume of the extra-curricular activities and jobs you've held. Examples of resumes can be found online to learn about the layout and how to find language to best describe the skills you've gained. This is important for your application.
10. Get college videos in your local library to visit the schools on the screen if you can't get to visit them.

Parent-Teen Chats About College

Summer is a casual time when parents and kids can discuss college expectations without the pressure senior year will bring when the competition among peers begins to rise. It's important for parents to help their teenager develop their own expectations, not only seek their parents' approval.

Ask your teen what he or she imagines about college life academically and socially. Listen carefully without judgment as they develop a sense of their intentions and hopes. Try not to rush in with your opinions until you're sure your teen has developed his or her own. It's best to ask questions without expecting solid answers but just a chance to explore ideas.

This is a great time to secure your parent-teen relationship, so when the pressure begins in the fall your student knows he can depend on you to help in whatever ways he wants. Some kids like parents to help them organize the tasks involved, others want to do this more on their own. Let them know you're there as needed to relieve stress when it comes.

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Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child's Behavior found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Familius and wherever books are sold.