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Preparing for College Success

Updated: Jul 29

Summer provides an excellent opportunity for high school students to acquire skills that will prepare them for success in college and beyond. Rest and relaxation after a hectic year in school will help re-charge students for the following year. Yet, like most students, you can still find a few hours per week toward things that will enhance your personal development and your college resume. Keep track of time spent per week over the summer and school year to better help you answer volunteer questions on the Common Application used by thousands of colleges. Below are a few ideas to invest time this summer.

  • Work – Earning and budgeting money is a life skill every teen needs to learn before college. Showing up on time, following through on commitments, working with a great attitude, and learning to work with people who are different than you all provide skills every independent adult needs. Part-time summer work provides a head start to practice these skills while earning money. Research jobs with tuition reimbursement if you are willing to work while in college.

  • Volunteer – Most find satisfaction when helping others. Colleges want students willing to step up and be active members of the university community. Those with a track record of volunteering are more likely to do this in college and are more desirable applicants to admissions reps. Two programs linked below allow moms to serve alongside their students. As you progress through high school, look for ways to narrow your focus to demonstrate commitment to a particular organization or area. One hour with 50 organizations doesn’t stand out as much as 50 hours with one organization or 50 hours focused in a common area. If you love and want to work with kids, consider volunteering in the same VBS each summer, mixing in tutoring, camp counseling, and babysitting.

  • Academic enrichment – This can include SAT/ACT prep or tutoring programs like those offered at Philosophy.

  • Family helper – Students with responsibilities to provide childcare to younger siblings or help in a family business are gaining the same skills taught in many areas already mentioned. Don’t hesitate to track this and use it on your college resume.

  • Camps and summer programs – Work or volunteering at camps can include traditional outdoor recreation camps that offer leadership experience as a counselor or instructor. Many choices surround the Tulsa region, including Camp Loughridge, New Life Ranch, Kanakuk, Young Life, or Pine Cove. It might also include a host of enrichment-based camps offered at many colleges. Though costly, these will give you time on a college campus and exposure to various topics that could direct you to a future major in college.

  • Earn college credit – Academically able students who have taken the PSAT or pre-ACT and meet GPA requirements might consider enrolling in a dual or concurrent enrollment course. This could be as early as the summer after 10th grade. Many colleges offer these options online for a substantial discount.

  • Travel abroad – Summer mission trips or an array of travel programs geared toward high school students can provide an eye-opening look into the world and your place in it.

  • READ, READ AND READ SOME MORE – Go beyond required reading and read for enjoyment on a range of topics. Reading skills are essential for college and college entrance exams.


Put your hands, heart and mind to work to create meaning and memories this summer!

40 ideas for summer work

Volunteering Benefits

Young Men’s Service League

National Charity League

Summer Enrichment Camp Opportunities

Travel Programs for Teens





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