How to Make the Most of Your Rising Senior Summer 

The summer before your senior year of high school can feel busy and exciting as you look ahead to college and post-graduation plans. It may also feel a little overwhelming to know what you should be doing to prepare for this crucial time. Here are some tips you can follow to set yourself up for a successful senior year: 

1. Visit College Campuses 

If you haven’t started already, summer is a great time for rising 12th graders to visit college campuses. Register for an official campus tour; meet with a college admissions counselor; and check out the college’s facilities, like the dining hall, athletic center or student life hub. Many colleges and universities offer special summer events. Gordon offers several Summer Getaway visit dates, where you can tour campus and receive a local area guide and passbook with coupons for discounts at local restaurants, coffee shops and ice cream! It’s an easy and fun way to turn your college visit into the perfect summer vacation. 

2. Research College Scholarships for High School Students 

Don’t wait until you have your acceptances in hand before you start thinking about how to pay for college! Utilize websites like Fastweb, a free scholarship search platform, to get personalized scholarship recommendations. Note whether the colleges you are applying to offer merit-based scholarships and how to qualify for them. Gordon offers a number of college scholarships for high school students. From merit-based to special scholarships for music and fine arts to church-match scholarships, there are lots of ways to reduce the sticker price of college; it just requires a little digging! 

3. Get Some Real-World Experience 

Colleges value students who have strong communication, critical-thinking and leadership skills. Participating in a real-world experience shows initiative, strong work ethic and a willingness to push yourself outside your comfort zone. 

A few examples include: 

  • Getting a summer job or internship 
  • Taking a class on a college campus 
  • Meaningful volunteer work 
  • Showing your entrepreneurial side by starting your own business 
  • Participating in summer camps for rising seniors or summer enrichment programs 

Gordon’s Heritage Program, a weeklong program for high schoolers, is a fantastic way to earn college credits, live on a college campus and get a glimpse into your future college life! 

4. Brainstorm Ideas for College Application Essays 

Rising senior students may find summer the perfect time to start brainstorming ideas for their college essay. Deciding on a topic can often be the hardest part! 

Some tips for making your essay stand out: 

  • The simplest topics often make the greatest essays. Spend time thinking about your passions, hobbies or things that make you the happiest! 
  • Make sure whatever topic you choose relates back to you. If you write about another person in your life, be sure the essay tells us more about you than the other person. 
  • There are two kinds of people that senior students will want to review their essays: proofreaders for grammar and people with perspective. Proofreaders will look for grammatical errors, spelling and punctuation mistakes (people like English teachers or school counselors). People with perspective are people who know you well and can ensure that your essay is authentic to you (people like family members, siblings or friends). 

Pro tip: Gordon’s application doesn’t require an essay! We’ve made the process simple and straightforward so you can get it done in fewer than 30 minutes.  

5. Review your 12th-Grade Classes and Start an Activities List 

Didn’t hit your stride academically until junior year? That’s ok. Colleges like to see an upward trend in grades and an increase in the rigor of 12th-grade classes. Make sure you are taking courses that challenge you (college prep, honors, AP, IB or college-level courses, if available) but won’t overwhelm you. Making a list of your activities and accomplishments in high school will help you when it comes time to prepare a resume, go on a college interview or apply for a scholarship. You’ve done a lot––reflecting on it over the summer will save you time in the long run. 

6. Have Fun! 

It can be easy to get caught up in the to-do lists of planning for senior year, college and scholarship applications. Strike a balance between preparing and relaxing and you’ll be ready to finish your high school career strong and ready for your future. 

Make the Most of This Summer with Gordon 

Need help making the most of your summer before senior year? Visit Gordon’s campus, enjoy a vacation on the North Shore and connect with your admissions counselor. We look forward to seeing you on campus!