Make the Most of School Breaks
Take advantage of your time off.
School breaks are a great opportunity to relax, have fun, and prepare for your future. Whether you want to catch up on your hobbies, spend time with your friends and family, or get ready for college, here are some tips on how to make the most of your school breaks.
Spend your summer months setting yourself up for success. It’s a great time to build your resume, prepare for college, and develop career skills without having to balance your typical school workload. Here are some things you can spend your summer working on:
- Start researching colleges and careers that interest you. If you’re unsure about what colleges and careers are a good fit for you, take our interest inventory to learn more about yourself.
- Research and apply for scholarships.
- Visit college campuses or make plans for fall.
- Find a summer job or internship. Save for college, learn new skills, and discover what interests you.
Volunteer in your local community.
- Take a free practice ACT online at act.org to identify your strengths and areas for growth.
Fall Break is typically a short break in October or November; it can be a valuable time to think about what you want to do after you graduate from high school.
- Continue researching colleges and careers that interest you. If you already have a college or career list, try and start narrowing down the possibilities based on what interests you the most.
- Make a list of upcoming deadlines and requirements for colleges, scholarships, and end of year projects.
- Schedule campus visits when students are still in session to get the most realistic perspective of the campus.
- Start working on your college essay if you are applying to colleges this year.
- Spend some time studying for the ACT test.
Winter break is usually a longer break in December and/or January and can be a great opportunity to finalize your college applications or have conversations with family.
- Finalize your college application if applying. Make sure you proofread your essays and have all the materials required such as transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, and application fees.
- Apply for scholarships.
- Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The FAFSA is used to apply for various types of financial aid including grants, loans, and work-study.
- Spend time having important conversations with your parents. Talk about colleges and careers you are considering, college costs, and goals you have.
- Set goals for the new year. Consider pursuing a new hobby, starting your own club, earning the grade you want, or sticking to a study routine.
Spring break is typically a week-long break in March or April. Use this time to get ready for the end of the school year and don’t forget to relax.
- Make final decisions. Colleges usually send out their admission decisions in the spring leaving you with important decisions to make such as which school you will attend and how you plan to cover the costs.
- Visit your college’s campus.
- Look for internships or volunteer opportunities for the upcoming summer.
- Get a head start on studying for finals and end of year projects.
- Think about who you are going to ask for letters of recommendation, including teachers, coaches, mentors, or other adults who know you well. Try and give them the summer to work on them.
- Practice interviewing so you’re ready when applying for summer jobs, internships, or other opportunities.
Step by Step: Critical Milestones That Lead to College Planning Success
My Journey On-Demand Session
It’s no secret — college and career planning can be overwhelming. During this presentation, we’ll pull back the curtain and identify critical milestones that will help students and families plan for success.
The session will highlight 9th and 10th-grade college prep behaviors and break down time sensitive college application advice for 11th and 12th graders. Learn how a counselor helped students explore careers, jobs, and various types of colleges to help them arrive at a balanced college match list that met their needs.