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Ideas for Summer Activities for High School Juniors

As the academic year winds down, many high school juniors are looking ahead to summer. Aside from work and visiting campuses, what should they do to prepare for college?

While students might be thinking of how to fill in gaps on their college resume, do something that's "sincerely you," suggests John Boshoven, a counselor at Community High School in Ann Arbor, Mich., and a director of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. "Don't try to become something you are not."

Better to extend a natural interest into something more, suggests Boshoven. If a student loves lacrosse, use that to benefit others. Perhaps volunteer at a local school in a summer recreation program as a junior coach. Or, if you are involved with a club at school, partner with another high school on an activity. "Do something that looks genuine that shows what you are already doing in a leadership role," said Boshoven.

If a student loves to read, pick four books to finish over the summer. It can have the added benefit of expanding vocabulary for the SAT. Some students may want to focus on improving their college admissions test scores in the fall and make test prep a component of their summer plans.

Summer is a great time to organize all those college materials that have come flying through the mail slot. It will be nice come fall when students need to easily grab school brochures, especially when tailoring essays to a particular college. Speaking of which, students who use the summer to get a jump start on their essays will tell you it's a big relief going into their senior year with that task behind them.

If you don't have time to visit all the campuses you'd like, surf college websites over the summer. For tips on how to find the most information about colleges online, see this article from the College Board.

For more ideas from admissions counselors about how juniors can prepare for college over the summer, see this piece in U.S. News and World Report.

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