Summer College Search Activities for High School Students

Published by Wendy Nelson on

Paradise beach sceneThere are several summer college search activities for high school students that your high schooler should be focused on. These depend on what year in high school your student will be in the fall.  I am going to focus on rising Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors.

Summer College Search Activities for Rising Sophomores

In my estimation, it is too early to start the college search process. However, that doesn’t mean that rising Sophomores shouldn’t think about some early college search preparation steps.

As your student moves into Sophomore year, he or she will need to focus on grades, taking challenging classes, and on high-quality extracurricular activities. Summer is a great time for your student to focus on Interests before these other areas take up most of his or her time.  What subject areas does he or she find most interesting – math, science, foreign language, English, history, etc?  This should lead your student to subject areas that may be of interest for his or her future college major and potential career path.

Here are some resources that may help with this exploration.

  • BigFuture Explore Careers – the College Board’s BigFuture website has a function for students to select things they are interested in and see potential careers that will match these interests. It also lists helpful high school courses for each career area.
  • YourFreeCareerTest – The student answers 40 questions regarding interest areas and the results indicate his/her interest level by percentage. The nice thing about this site is that no registration is required. The student can receive answers without providing an email address.
  • ACT Profile – the site provides free college and career planning assessments for students. Students who have already registered for an ACT test can use their login to take the assessments. Students who have not registered for an ACT test can sign up for a free account.

Summer College Search Activities for Rising Juniors

The summer before Junior year is a good time for your student to start thinking about what he or she wants in a college. It’s a good time to start the very first college visits in order to narrow down what types of schools to explore further.

A couple years ago, I wrote, “Rising Juniors – Summer College Search Checklist“.  The summer preparation activities I listed out there are the key ones for your student to focus on before starting Junior year.

Summer College Search Activities for Rising Seniors

The key college search activities for the summer before Senior year involve making sure your student is prepared for the upcoming college application process.

In the post, “Rising Senior Summer Check-In – Prepare for College Apps“, I detailed all the things your rising Senior should think through or do this summer in order to be ready for starting the college application process this fall.


The key to being prepared for the college search process is early preparation.  No matter what year in high school your student will be going into, there are preparation steps that will help in the long run. Making use of some of his or her extra time in the summer to address these is much easier than trying to pack extra things into an already busy school year.