Summer is here! As you ease out of your weekly routine of school and homework, I’m sure you will find yourself with a lot more free time. A lot of that time will be dedicated to practicing, competing in tournaments, building your Hub profile, and communicating with college coaches. However, the summer can be utilized to your advantage, so that you can get things done that have been on your list for a while, and so that you can feel more prepared and in control heading into the next academic year.

In my experience while I was going through the recruiting process, I prioritized working on my golf game and spending time lowering my scores in practice and in tournaments. My routine greatly helped me prepare to play golf at Swarthmore College, but as I headed back to high school for junior year, I felt overwhelmed with the amount of things I wanted to get done. I realized that I could have spent my time more efficiently throughout my sophomore summer to ease my stress level for the next fall.

When you aren’t competing or practicing, and not spending time with your family or friends, here are six things to consider doing during your free time in the summer.

1. Organize, organize, organize!

The summer is the perfect time to go through clutter you may have accumulated. Go through old schoolwork and papers, and get rid of things you don’t need. Only save papers that you know you may need to reference in the future. Consider going through old items or school projects that you don’t want to keep anymore. The more room you make for yourself, the more room there is to grow, and the easier the transition will be for you next fall.

2. Plan for the future

The summer is the best time for you to plan ahead for things you may want to take up moving forward. Perhaps you want to get a new credit card. Perhaps you want to start driving. The time is now to speak with your parents about how you want to manage your finances and what their expectations for you will be as you finish up high school and move into college. The time is now to start studying the DMV review questions to prepare for a permit test. As you complete things like this, you can relax knowing that you are on top of what you want to get done, and your senior fall will become more free for you to complete college applications.

3. Prepare for the SAT/ACT

It’s never too early to start practicing for the SAT or ACT. Especially as you make the jump from sophomore to junior year, at least look into deciding which test would be best for you to take. Practicing for the standardized test with a practice booklet refreshes your reading comprehension and critical thinking skills, which will help you academically as you go into next fall. One of the most difficult aspects of the test is getting used to the format and time to take the test. Once you become familiar with that, the rest of the process is smooth sailing.

4. Do your chores!

It might be a little cliche to suggest doing your chores. But personally, I would rather get something done and take advantage of the free time I have during the summer that I ordinarily wouldn’t have during the school year. Completing small tasks feels great and gives you a rewarding and productive feeling. Whether it’s weeding the patio, freeing up your iCloud space by backing up your photos, or cleaning out your garage, you will feel better completing tasks like these. The rewarding feeling of productivity subtly translates into other aspects of your life, possibly freeing you up to play your best on the golf course.

5. Gain some career exposure

As you begin to fill in your resume with extracurricular activities for college, it is always beneficial to begin looking into possible career fields you’re interested in. See if you can job shadow someone nearby that you know. Perhaps get a part-time job or volunteer somewhere nearby, like at a nursing home or a soup kitchen. Always remember to write down your experiences so that you can express and elaborate on them in your college applications. Maybe start to network by talking with close family members and find out more about what they do each week. Don’t be discouraged at the beginning of this endeavour, and know that relatives and friends are willing to help you!

6. Schedule some college visits

College visits are an important part of the college search process, helping you get a feel for the school and an introduction to what life on campus might be like. It might be great for you, as well as your parents, to schedule college visits on the way to, or coming back from tournaments you play over the summer. Contact coaches ahead of time and see if they’d be willing to watch you during your round if they are located nearby your tournament site. Even if you don’t schedule college visits, spend some free time finding out more information on the schools you are interested in.

Of course, the most important part of summer is to have fun! You have lots of time to relax, regroup, and spend time at home as well as with your friends. But taking these tips into consideration will certainly help you ease in to your future years much more efficiently and more stress-free. Accomplishing tasks like these over the summer helps you to feel more confident, more productive, and more positive for the journey that lies ahead. Although you have lots of time at the start of the summer, I know from my experience that it is never a bad idea to start getting things done early to maximize your summer.

Wishing you the best as we kick off summer 2019!

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