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It's important to take a break, relax, and have some fun over the summer, but there are a few things your child can do to have a leg up on their college applications.

  • Search for colleges. Start to make a list of colleges they may be interested in applying to. Your child should consider questions like, "What do I want to study?" or "Do I want to go to a two-year college or a four-year college?" BigFuture's College Search tool can help them find schools and narrow down their list.
  • Practice for college entrance exams. Summer is a great time to practice for a college entrance exam like the SAT. Answering a daily practice question or using Official SAT Practice for 15 minutes every day will add up as your child strengthens their skills ahead of test day.
  • Take the SAT. The SAT is offered in most cities at the end of August, which allows students to take the test before their senior year gets too busy.
  • Get ready for the FAFSA. To apply for federal financial aid, you need to fill out the FAFSA—Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Your child can begin filling out the FAFSA on October 1 of their senior year, so use the summer to gather the materials you need to complete it.
  • Start the college application essay. Your child can use their free time in the summer to start writing a personal essay for their college applications. They should try to complete a first draft by the end of the summer.