7 Summer Musts Before Senior Year

summer before senior year checklist

Summer Before Senior Year Checklist


The senior year of high school holds so much fun, but also a lot of anxiety as seniors and parents make decisions about plans for the next year. This summer holds more anxiety than usual because of uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though some options like most college tours are not possible right now, it is still important to prepare for the college application process.

Using this summer wisely will help eliminate much of the chaos that can occur when all of the deadlines are looming.

I have created a Printable Summer Before Senior Year checklist. Subscribe below to download this and other college preparation checklists.

More Preparing for College Resources:

The Complete Guide to Paying for College

College Admissions Glossary of Terms

College Preparation Planner

College Preparation Template

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Summer Before Senior Year Checklist

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Get registered for any of the alphabet tests that your student lacks or wants to retake. (ACT, SAT). With the COVID-19 Social Distancing policies currently in place, current testing has been cancelled or rescheduled. Check the websites regularly for the lastest information and possible test dates.

Narrow down the list of colleges to which to apply and schedule any visits for the summer or early fall. COVID-19 has changed everything. Summer visits may or may not happen. Prayers that things will be back to normal by fall and you can do your visits. In the meantime, many schools are offering virtual tours and the admission counselors are still available by phone and email. Use this list of 30 Must Ask College Visit Questions when you talk to the counselor. Get contact information from the counselor for departmental questions. Look online for current students to find answers to other questions. It may take a little more detective work when you cannot get on campus, but it will be worth it. Use the College Preparation Template to record the answers.

Familiarize yourself with the Common Application.


For schools that do not accept the Common Application, find out what application they do accept. The school website is the best source for this information.


Urge your student to begin writing their essay. A teacher at my daughter's high school offers a summer essay writing workshop. It is great to dedicate several days to writing the essay with the full focus of a teacher. The fall will be busy and having the essay written and/or having a basic rough draft that can be adapted for any application will be a tremendous stress reliefCommon app essay prompts

Contact teachers for recommendation letters. The most popular teachers can become overwhelmed with requests and may limit how many they write. Provide these teachers with a resume of high school accomplishments and activities to assist them in writing the letter.


Spend some time reading college information websites like College Scoops,  College Confidential,  and How to Win Scholarships.


The next year will be overwhelming and exciting as your student finishes high school and plans for the future. Taking time this summer to prepare for the journey will alleviate stress and lessen the time crunch in the fall. I have created a printable Summer Before Senior Year Checklist to help you check off these tasks this summer. This list is a part of the Planning for College Printable pack.

Prepare, plan, dream, and enjoy this summer with your student.

Looking for a complete planner to guide you through college preparation, college search, college applications, and more?

The Planning for College Planner

The College Preparation Template

Also check out: 10 College Application Tips and College Visit Checklist: 30 Must Ask College Visit Questions 

and Mom Tips for Surviving Senior Year from my friend Dana at Parenting in Real Life.

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Get your FREE copy of the Planning for College Checklists - Junior Year, Summer Before Senior Year, Senior Year, FAFSA, CSS-Profile, Scholarships, Dorm Shopping, Packing for the Move, and the Parent Survival Kit for College Drop Off and the Glossary of College Admissions Terms.

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Hey There!

I’m Laura

Welcome to Almost Empty Nest! I began this blog in September 2014 after leaving my oldest son at college and realizing that my nest was emptying. Join me on this journey as we explore the path of guiding our children to adulthood and rediscovering ourselves beyond the mom years.


  1. This would of been amazing to know when I was still a senior. Cool list though.

  2. This just makes me think about how before I know it, my sister’s daughter is going to be in high school and college. Oh wow….. I need to stop thinking about that, it’s scary! LOL!


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