As winter break quickly approaches, you seniors in high school are probably stressed and unsure of what needs to get done over winter break. In this blog, I will outline some things you need to do over winter break as a college applicant:
1. Finalize/Submit all of your college essays: I would start by creating a list of everything that you need to complete and the deadlines that they are due. Maybe you have to write a few supplemental essays that are due on December 31st. Write all of this information down or create a list via Word or Google Documents. Then create a schedule with deadlines for yourself so that you can hold yourself accountable. So maybe by December 23rd, you want to have 2 supplemental essays written and edited. You could also make a schedule that is more detailed: write down what you want to get done every day and write down the time you want to set aside to complete that task - so 1-2 PM I am working on my supplemental essay and from 2-3 PM I am editing my short-answer essays. Doing this will help keep you on track to complete all of your tasks and not miss any deadlines.
2. Double check all of your applications: A huge mistake students make is that they submit their college application without thoroughly checking to make sure all information is correct. You spend months writing your college essays, so you should spend time checking your application. I would start by making sure your name, email, and address are all entered correctly. Then, go through the rest of your application and make sure every aspect of the application is there and correct: so are your letters of recommendation there, is your activity list correct, your essays are the updated and right version, you submitted your test scores etc. Do not rush this part because leaving tiny errors in your application after you spent so much time on your application is the worst.
3. Apply for Scholarships: Once you’re done submitting all of your college applications, you can start applying for scholarships in order to reduce the cost of your college tuition. Most scholarships may require additional essays based on specific prompts, so you should start researching scholarships early so that you have enough time to prepare the necessary materials in order to apply for the scholarship. When I was in high school, I found a lot of scholarships that required video submissions, because filming and editing videos was something that I was interested in. If you have a passion for writing, filming, sports etc., you can find scholarships that play to your strengths and may be less essay based.
You can search for scholarships through:
4. Create a LinkedIn Profile/Update your Resume: If you do not have a resume or LinkedIn account yet, winter break of your senior year of high school is the perfect time to start creating these. In order to apply to any internships or jobs, you will need a resume and the employer may even ask for your LinkedIn profile. Additionally, when applying for school clubs in college, a lot of clubs ask for your resume in order to apply. I had a resume created while I was in high school in order to apply for internships and I created a LinkedIn when I was going to college so that I could search for summer opportunities.
5. Volunteer: So that you stay productive over winter break, you may consider volunteering. Volunteering is something that doesn’t have to be done only over winter break, but should be a year-round activity. Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and help you discover what areas you are passionate about. You could try to volunteer at your local hospital, food bank, or animal shelter. For me, a volunteering activity I was super involved in was Special Olympics Aquatics. I volunteered here from sophomore to senior year of high school. Because I grew up competitively swimming on the swim team, volunteering with Special Olympics in their Aquatics Program was a logical conclusion. I even wrote some college essays about my experiences volunteering!
6. Reflect on Habits from your Fall of High School: Take some time to think about your habits so far in senior year. Do some habits need to change? Did you get the grades that you were hoping for on your report card? Maybe your study habits were lacking? Think about these things and write down some goals for your last few months of senior year. If your study habits were lacking, you may want to make some changes to fix those habits so that you finish senior year strong. If you are a senior struggling with senioritis, check our my other blog on how to combat senioritis: www.shcollegeconsulting.com/our-advice-blog/why-high-school-senioritis-is-dangerous-and-how-you-can-combat-it.
Rachel is the founder of Study Hall College Consulting. Rachel graduated from UC Berkeley where she double majored in Cognitive Science and Legal Studies. For more application and essay tips, check out our Study Hall College Consulting website at: shcollegeconsulting.com.