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Getting Into College: Making the Most of Your Holiday Break

December 21, 2009 By: Julie Manhan Category: Get into College

While it’s important to take time for yourself during the holidays so you can go back to school refreshed, it is also a great time to get a jump start on some things that may help you get into college.  Here are a few suggestions of ways you can use the time to improve your chances of being admitted to the colleges you may be considering.


 Photo by brockvicky  

1. Catch up or Get ahead.  Your grades are a very important part of getting into college. So, if you find yourself lagging behind in a class or are struggling with a certain subject, take some time to review the material that has been most challenging.  If you are behind on assignments, make sure you get them done.  Showing a little extra effort on them couldn’t hurt either!  If you’re all caught up, this is a great opportunity to get started on projects or papers you know will be coming up or to read up on a topic you’re interested in.

2. Read.   Most people will tell you that the single, best way to prepare for the SAT/ACT is to read.  The more you read, the higher your scores will tend to be.  Your vocabulary will also improve - and you may become a better writer as well - which will come in very handy on those application essays.  Without a doubt, spending quality time with a good book over vacation is one of the best ways to help yourself get into college.

3. Go over your PSAT results.  Take advantage of the time you have to look over the questions you missed by consulting the PSAT test booklet.  Focus on reviewing concepts you had trouble with or plan to meet with someone who can help you  improve your skills.  If you didn’t take the PSAT, or don’t have your results just yet, do some of the free test prep that is available on the SAT and ACT websites to get used to the kinds of questions you will be asked on those tests.

4.  Look for opportunities to volunteer in your community.  Because of the responsibility, leadership, and creativity many positions involve, volunteering is an excellent way to improve your skills in these areas and help yourself get into college.  While you may not have enough time to take on a long term volunteer position during your holiday break, this is still a good time to look ahead to where you might like to volunteer during the summer.  Too often, students don’t realize that the positions they are most interested in, such as in a hospital or with an animal shelter, accept a limited number of volunteers and require special training which takes place in the Spring.

5. Expand your horizons. While you have the time, read the paper.  Watch the news.  Listen carefully to conversations.  Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities that will give you a chance to meet new people, try your hand at different things and get involved.  Students who are aware of the world around them and  have taken advantage of the opportunities available to them in high school tend to have more to offer in a college classroom, as well as  to their classmates, and consequently may find it a bit easier to get into college.

Whatever you decide to do, the important thing is to do something.  Remember: getting into college isn’t something you just do as a Senior; it’s something you take steps toward every day.