How to Create Summer College Prep Goals
Whether you’re working towards a target score for the ACT or SAT or putting the finishing touches on your list of best-fit schools, every student needs concrete goals to work towards throughout the college admissions process. Nailing down objectives is particularly important during the summer months while students have time away from schools and activities that might make it difficult to get ahead.
Creating and working towards impactful goals requires self-reflection, awareness, and a connection to your big-picture dreams. Keep reading to learn more about how to set goals for the college admissions process and what to do over the summer in order to stay committed to these goals.
Reflect on Your Progress
Don’t arbitrarily choose goals because they sound good or it’s something a friend might be working towards. Instead, take time to reflect on what matters most to you and your academic journey so far. Revisit the classes and concepts you have struggled with as well as projects and assignments that have highlighted your strengths. Consider your academic classes as well as extracurricular activities, summer experiences, test preparation, and college planning.
Once you’ve reviewed your progress, plan and look into the future. Consider what you wish to be doing five years from now and a decade from now. While many students may be unclear on exactly what they wish to do professionally, it’s important to start thinking through these kinds of aspirational questions to conceptualize your long-term aspirations. Use the passions and interests you have developed throughout your high school career as a starting point to explore pursuits that relate to these ideas.
Do Your Research
The best goals are based on facts and a comprehensive understanding of the accomplishments you wish to achieve. Once you have an idea of what you wish to work towards, compile the research to back up your journey. For example, if a student opts to focus on test preparation this summer, they need to be well-versed in the topic. This can include learning about both the SAT and ACT and researching what the middle 50% score range is for accepted applicants at every college on their best-fit list.
Avoid Getting Overwhelmed
Although the college admissions process is multi-faceted, there’s no need to attempt to check off every item on your to-do list at once. Instead, it’s often best to focus on one high-priority goal and give it your all before moving on to the next item on your agenda. Students who try to take on too much at once may feel overwhelmed by the admissions process and struggle to stay motivated. To avoid this, write down a list of 3-5 goals that you think are important for your college admissions journey, and then select one to prioritize first. If you need some guidance, check out our College Planning Checklist for help.
It’s not enough just to set goals; students need to consistently work towards them in order to be successful. Once you have selected which goal you wish to focus on, create a plan of action. Consider the steps you will need to take to achieve this goal and set aside time every week to work towards it. Review your progress each week, identify any challenges that arose, and pinpoint new solutions or ways to address these hurdles. Discuss your goals with peers, family members, and teachers for their support and encourage your friends to do the same.
While it can be easy to let your motivation wane during the summer months, it’s important to take advantage of this time to continue your academic progress and prepare for the college admissions process. If you are looking for personalized guidance throughout the summer and beyond, our team of college admissions experts can help you identify and achieve your goals. Be sure to check out our KnowlegeBase Resources, too, for additional help, including our College Prep Guide.