Using Winter Break Wisely

It can be tempting for high school students to spend all of winter break relaxing and avoiding school work. However, that’ll make the second half of the school year pretty tough. Winter break can be an excellent time to catch up on college applications or to do some remedial work before classes start up again. If your teen plans out an hour or two of work each day, he or she can accomplish a lot before heading back to school in January.

Building Up Academic Areas

A great way to make use of winter break is to target any weak academic areas before classes begin again. For high school juniors, now is the time to work toward excellent grades, because college admissions workers look closely at grades in junior year and the first half of senior year. If your teen is struggling in any particular subject, or even if he or she just wants to build up writing or math skills in preparation for the SAT, winter break presents options for at-home practice, tutoring, or some self-study. It’ll be easier to identify problem areas now and work to fix them in the winter, instead of cramming before finals and realizing that there’s a knowledge gap the day before the test. Some proactive measures over winter break can save trouble later in the school year. Even better, building study skills in high school will help your teen prepare for the workload that college will bring.

College Application Prep

If your teen hasn’t applied early decision or early action to some colleges, he or she probably has quite a few applications due in the beginning and middle of January. Other colleges that your teen plans to apply to may do rolling admissions, which means that there’s no strict deadline for applications. Either way, your teen will need to dedicate some time to finishing up applications over break, or else he or she will have to balance school work and application deadlines once high school starts up again. A good plan can be to spend an hour each day on the Common App or on a specific school’s supplement. Your teen can get a surprising amount done in just an hour.

Winter break  offers an opportunity to get some one-on-one help with the college application process. If resources permit, hire a private college counselor to help you navigate the Common Application, refine college essays and prepare an impressive application.