Parents & Family

Preparing For Next Year

Summer can be the perfect time for students to jump-start their junior year by organizing and prioritizing aspects of their college lives.

As coursework and co-curricular involvement demands intensify and the need to focus on resume-boosting initiatives increases, students can feel overwhelmed by juggling too many roles and responsibilities. Before junior and senior year overload sets in, students should do a quick inventory of their college lives—keep what is useful, discard what is expendable and add what is needed.

The following suggestions can help your student get started:

Stay on Track by Continuing to:

  • Fulfill academic core and major requirements.

  • Update your resume, curriculum vitae and portfolio.

  • Consider the importance of summer school as a way to ease next year's course load and fulfill credit hours towards the core. Many students also find they can boost their GPAs by having more time to study in a relaxed manner.

  • Seek experiential learning opportunities, such as internships, service learning, research initiatives, independent studies and Explorations/Study Abroad programs.

  • Build leadership skills by assuming positions with greater responsibility in co-curricular and community activities.

Discard Practices that Include:

  • Continuing to participate in on- and off-campus activities that don't interest you anymore or that don't offer you opportunities for growth, networking or other personal, professional or social benefits.

  • Enrolling in courses for the sole purpose of being "schedule fillers." Carefully choose courses for career relevance, skill/insight building, interest or pleasure

  • Relying on friends for advice when picking courses or choosing professors. Recognize that perspectives can differ among individuals.

  • Staying with familiarity when picking courses, Explorations/Study Abroad locations, co-curricular involvement and other opportunities. Stepping out of one's comfort zone can be a great learning experience.

  • Viewing summer as a time away from college. Instead, consider it to be a third semester that allows you to further build your personal, professional and career-focused insights and skills.

  • Avoiding campus. Summer is an excellent time to visit the Career Center to meet with an advisor and utilize resources.

Look Ahead By Deciding to:

  • Research fellowships, graduate programs and other scholarly and service opportunities if you don't plan to look for employment immediately upon graduation.

  • Review study guides for whichever graduate-level standardized exam (e.g., GRE, GMAT, GED, LSAT, MCAT, DAT) you plan to take.

  • Join a professional society and read publications in your career field as a way to identify and stay current with issues impacting your intended profession. These also facilitate networking and becoming aware of internship and job opportunities.

  • Strengthen your skills in writing, public speaking, leadership, organizational management and interpersonal communication as a way to impress potential employers and graduate school personnel. Talk with your academic advisor about courses and activities that can help you enhance these competencies.

  • Brainstorm topics for senior thesis/capstone projects, independent studies or research projects. Keep a list you can review at a later date—when the busy school year gets underway and time or ideas may be limited.