Pick up a book that isn’t an assignment every once in a while. Life is busy, but if you can squeeze in time to read, you’ll be better for it. Reading other people’s writing will make you a better writer. Plus, you’ll have something interesting to talk about in those college interviews down the road. And most of all, you’ll be a more interesting person, period.
The SAT test you’ll be taking later on in high school has a writing portion. The more you write, the more prepared you’ll be for the test. Actually the more you write, the better prepared you are for high school, college, your career, your life! Take care when writing for your classes. Your teachers can help you hone your writing skills. Work with them! Write letters to family and friends. Start a journal. Find any excuse to get your ideas on paper.
Most kids think, “Ahh, the summer. Time to relax and watch lots of TV.” That’s fine, and it is important to take time to relax and be a kid, but it would be good to do something productive, too. We advise students to: get a job; volunteer; attend an academic program somewhere; travel to a far away land. Students can enhance their interests by doing summer activities that include things they like to do – there is not a summer program that is “better” than another, except that the best options align with a student’s interests.
Is it OK to visit colleges before junior year? Yes it is, but you need to pay very close attention to the interest of the student. If a student is not interested and parents drag them to a bunch of places they don’t want to be, then it can get the college process off to a very poor start. On the other hand, if a student is interested and curious, it is fine to explore some campuses. We recommend being flexible and opportunistic. If you happen to be near a campus on a vacation or trip, you might consider taking a look. Campus tour and information session schedules can be found on colleges’ admissions websites.