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What should I be doing over summer break?

School will be out in a couple weeks, and you will be looking for something to do over the break besides sleep. Now is a great time to use your time off wisely so that when you come back (or begin college, university or a technical program), you can start the year off right. Here is what you should be doing, by grade level, to maximize your summer break:

9th & 10th Graders:

  1. Read, read, read! Keep your brain fresh by checking out a novel from your campus or local neighborhood library.
  2. If you haven’t done so already, log into Naviance. Remember, you can now access Naviance via Clever.
  3. Start learning about college. Look at the college Information available on Naviance, browsing the hundreds of majors and programs to see what best fits you.
  4. Begin building an academic resume. Keep track of academic and extracurricular awards, community service achievements, and anything else in which you’ve participated. This will come in handy when you’re applying to college or for a summer job.
  5. Apply for a summer enrichment opportunity while there’s still time! Search for hundreds of summer learning events that will help you discover what you may want to pursue after high school graduation.
  6. It's difficult to predict the future, but it's never too early to start planning for it. Texas Reality Check will show you how much your living expenses will cost and the amount of money you will need to earn to pay for them.

11th Graders:

  1. Read, read, read! Keep your brain fresh by checking out a novel from your campus or local neighborhood library.
  2. Didn’t get the score you wanted on the School Day SAT? Retest! Summer break is the perfect time to ramp up your studying using Khan Academy SAT Practice. HISD students have raised their scores 400+ points, and you can too! One hour per day or less is all you need.
  3. If you have an academic resume, use this time to update it with all you’ve achieved. Don’t have a resume? Create one with Naviance’s resume-builder!
  4. Are there colleges or universities the pique your interest? Add them to your list of “prospective schools” in Naviance. Your counselor will get a better sense of which schools interest you and can notify you when those schools are coming to your campus.
  5. Have you thought about when you’re going to visit colleges this year? Consider planning some college visits over summer break to give you a better sense of which school is right for you.
  6. Apply for a summer enrichment opportunity, as there’s still time! Search for hundreds of summer learning events that will help you discover what you may want to pursue after high school graduation.
  7. It's difficult to predict the future, but it's never too early to start planning for it. Texas Reality Check will show you how much your living expenses will cost and the amount of money you will need to earn to pay for them.
  8. Use the FAFSA4caster financial aid estimator and compare the results to the actual costs at the colleges to which you will apply. To supplement any aid FAFSA4caster estimates you might receive, be sure to apply for scholarships. Your goal is to minimize the amount of loan funds you borrow so you have less to pay back later.
  9. Need money for college? Sign up for the College Board Scholarship Opportunity – there are many scholarships students can earn.
  10. Decide whether you are going to apply for admission under a particular college’s early decisionearly action or regular decision program. Be sure to learn about the program deadlines and requirements.

12th Graders:

  1. Read, read, read! Keep your brain fresh by checking out a novel from your campus or local neighborhood library.
  2. If you have not done so already:
    1. Register for New Student Orientation at your college or university! Here you sign up for classes, meet new students just like yourself, and become better acclimated to your campus.
    2. Ensure that the college or university you are attending in the fall has received all necessary documents (e.g. final transcripts, recent SAT scores, etc.).
    3. Review and accept your financial aid; if there is financial aid you are not accepting, decline it. You may be keeping another student from receiving that offer.
    4. Pay your new student and housing deposits; many schools actually require this during the month of May.
    5. Notify schools that you will not be attending in the fall that you have selected another institution; you may be keeping a wait-listed student from receiving that offer.
    6. Complete your FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov. If you have already submitted your FAFSA, check to see if you have been selected for verification and submit any additional paperwork. Questions about this? See this story on PowerUp GO. You can also see your advisor in the college success center.
    7. Contact your school’s financial aid office if you have any remaining questions about your award package. In fact, getting to know your financial aid staff early is a good idea no matter what—they can tell you about deadlines, as well as other scholarships for which you may qualify.
    8. Do you have AP, IB, or dual-credit? Be sure to transfer that information to your institution over the summer; do this to ensure you don’t take/re-take classes (remember, they cost money now)!
  3. Short on cash that you need for school? Use this time to submit scholarship applications. Use the scholarship search feature in Naviance to search, find, and apply for scholarships (e.g. free money for college)!
  4. Going to school in Texas? Consider taking summer courses at HCC to get ahead!