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Making the Most of Holiday Break

How’s your college application looking? When you’re not relaxing with family and celebrating holidays, break provides the perfect down time to reconsider what you might be bringing to the table. Once you adjust to freedom from school and responsibilities, consider making the most of your time in the following ways:

Update your resumé and search for opportunities that could bolster it.

There’s plenty of things you could do to enrich your resumé: see if local colleges offer classes for high schoolers, volunteer with charity organizations, start looking into academic summer programs, or see if organizations relevant to your interests or collegiate area of study offer internships. Note that anything that starts in spring or summer—internships, academic programs, and the like—tend to have registration deadlines in fall and winter. Once you find something you like, you could get to work on your application.

Make sure you’re solid on the personal statement, standardized test studying, and college deadlines and requirements.

Working on the application materials is infinitely easier when you don’t have homework and classes to worry about. Do some extra practice in your test prep books. Brainstorm some ideas for your personal statement, or, if you’ve written one, write a second draft. Make sure you’re 100% certain about when your college materials are due so that you don’t end up missing any deadlines. This is especially true for Early Action and Early Decision applications!

Think about goals for when you go back to school, and create a plan to improve your academic standing.

Consider joining a club or starting one. How’s your GPA? Is there extra credit work you could do to make it better, even if it’s already high? Do you have an idea of what the workload will be like for your classes, and can you create an organized study plan to avoid getting behind on work? College will recognize and appreciate any effort you put in, so going the extra mile is always worth it.

Get enough sleep.

This is, of course, really important. We all seem to do more than we should, but it’s wise to have limits and respect them. Prioritize your physical and emotional health, and the rest—motivation, energy, and ambition—will come to you.

Look into grants and scholarships, especially those offered by colleges to which you’re applying.

Yes, college is expensive, but luckily there’s lots of help out there. Depending on what you’re interested in and what achievements you have, you could qualify for various types of financial aid. Look into what’s offered in general, and what’s offered by the schools you want to go to. It’s never too early to think about funding your future.

Find ways to “passively educate” yourself.

There’s plenty of things that blend education and entertainment. TED Talks, documentaries, YouTube channels, Khan Academy videos—indulging these opportunities will make you a more informed and engaged citizen. This can come across in personal statements or supplementary essays. Learning is more fun when you’re not being graded!

Ask adults about career options.

If you’re celebrating the holidays, it’s likely you’ll be with extended family and friends. Use the time to question everyone about next steps. In high school, career options may seem limited, but the truth is that there’s plenty out there, and you probably will have many throughout your life.

Be inquisitive, ask lots of questions, and use the vast resources of google and social media.

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