While sleeping in, video games and Facebook maybe calling over the Winter Break, there is still plenty of time for college bound students to do something productive toward their college goals.

FRESHMAN

Have you put together a resume? If not, start now! It doesn’t have to be something fancy or even well formatted.  Simply start a list of activities, honors and community service along with dates. This is something to build on throughout high school and will save you time three years from now when you’re completing college applications. Pulling your resume together will also help you see any holes you have and allow you to make a plan to fill them before you run out of time at the end of the junior year.

If you don’t take your first semester exams until after break, get organized for studying now, so you are set for success.

SOPHOMORES

You are now likely feeling settled in high school. It may just be a good time to start thinking about college.  Using SuperMatch, can help you get a feel for what colleges are out there as well as the average GPA and ACT or SAT scores admitted students have. Check your own grades and see how you measure up.

Traveling? Stretch your legs by walking through a college campus.  Sure, it’s likely a ghost town, but you’ll get a feel for the size, location and architecture of a campus which will help you begin to decide what you like in a campus.

JUNIORS

Analyze your PSAT scores which you are likely going to receive from your high school just before heading into break. If you’ve also taken the PLAN test, compare the two to get an idea of whether you should be taking the ACT or the SAT; all colleges accept either test.  Test to your strength.

College entrance testing must be started in the junior year. Pull out your calendar and make a plan for when you will test.  LEAP recommends students plan to test at least twice on EITHER the ACT OR SAT. Were you aware 57% of students raise their score on a second attempt?  You’ll also need to check on whether your schools of interest will require or recommend SAT Subject Tests which you’ll need to allow time for in your schedule. Some colleges will allow you to substitute ACT scores for SAT Subject Tests.

SENIORS

Apply for your FAFSA PIN.  Each student applying for federal financial aid for college should do so in January. The PIN is required and needs to be requested in advance.

Scour the web for scholarships and plan to apply for one or two over break.  Fastweb is a favorite site for finding scholarships.

Even if you do a few of these, you’ll still have plenty of time to enjoy some down time with family and friends!