Don’t let the summer slide you off the Path to College!

In between going to the beach and family vacations, it’s important for teens to make time for college planning. Summer is a perfect time for students to build their academic skills and set up a college planning schedule. Renée Gernand, director of College Planning Services at the College Board, advises, “If you work together as a family, by the time the senior year of high school rolls around, you’ll be on track to graduate and go to college.”

Here are some easy ways to help your children stay on the college path this summer.

Practice Reading and Writing - Thirty minutes of reading a day can do wonders for developing comprehension and communication skills — both are necessary for college success. Encourage your children to read books, newspapers or magazines. Need a suggestion? Check out 101 Great Books on under the tab Plan for College. To hone writing skills, students can keep a journal or blog, or by getting a head start on their college application essays.

Get Tutoring - According to summer school teacher Manny Martínez of San Jose, Calif., even though a child may not have been required to enroll in a summer course, he encourages parents to ask their children what skills they’d like to build and seek help. Community organizations or colleges in your area offer summer programs that build academic skills through fun activities. Look for low-cost or free programs through agencies like the YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs.

Seek Internships and Ways to Volunteer - Many kids enthusiastically seek summer work to earn spending money, but it should not be the only consideration. Internships or volunteer jobs help teens become excited about possible careers and college majors. Internships also build life skills: self-confidence, responsibility and teamwork. Volunteer work helps kids see that they can make a difference in society.

Encourage your children to follow their interests. For example, if they love animals, they can work at a pet shelter or the zoo. Start the search close to home and on your city’s website.
Internships and volunteer work also look great on college applications. Students show they have the ambition and the values to improve their university community.

Identify Colleges and Scholarships - Even if your child hasn’t chosen a career, they should still identify what they want in a college and make a list of schools to consider. The College Board recommends students apply to five to eight colleges that they believe are a good fit for them. Find out when orientations are taking place and get a head start on visiting the schools.
Most financial aid comes from the government or colleges, but scholarships can come in handy. There are several thousand listed on under the tab Paying for College.

In Arkansas, visit the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) website where you will find all the links needed to get state scholarships funds and applications:

Study for College Admission Tests - If your child plans to take a college entrance exam, he or she should become familiar with the test through a study plan that offers practice questions and tests. On, doing this is easy with free and low-cost resources. Fall test dates are already available on the site so students can register early.

Resources for Students and Parents - My College Organizer is a free tool that helps students make a college list, access college websites and manage applications. It also reminds them of important to-dos, such as taking tests and submitting forms. Visit under the tab Find a College.

Help Your Child Make College a Reality is a low-cost guide for parents that helps them motivate, talk to and work with their teens to make college a reality. It comes with a handy calendar and checklist that will keep your family on track. To order, please call 866-630-9305.

For additional information, visit,
María de los Ángeles Corral
The College Board

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