Stay On Track This Summer: 4 Tips for Incoming College Freshmen

4 Ways to Stay Productive During Summer Break

A recent post, covers the concern of “summer melt,” where up to one-third of the students who graduate high school with plans to go to college never make it to a college campus. The post discussed how educators  can help keep someone on track—but there’s also plenty that a student can do to make sure their college plans don’t get derailed during a summer break.

Open every piece of snail mail you get from the college, and read all of it!  

Mail Time!

You’re probably used to getting lots of mail from all kinds of colleges, but once you’ve decided on where you want to enroll, anything and everything that school sends you needs to be read. For instance, you could be so excited after opening an admission letter that you completely miss important information on another page, such as scholarship opportunities offered by the school.

Read it all.


Check your email.  

Email may be almost as old school as snail mail, but it’s still how many colleges communicate with students—especially if they need something in a hurry.  The only way to find out what they need is to check your email at least three times a week in the summer. Also, make sure to check your junk or spam folder; some colleges send emails to thousands of students, and your email account may think it’s spam.  It isn’t.


Keep track of your to-dos with a checklist.  

Most colleges send you a checklist with everything you’ll need to do over the summer, and when you need to do it.  This checklist may come via snail mail, a link in an email, or as a text message.  Print it out and put it on your fridge at home; that way, your parents can help you keep track of what to do as well.  If your college doesn’t give a checklist, there are others out there, such as this one from College Board or from one of our posts.


Confused? Contact Your School. 

If there’s any point over the summer you’re not sure what you should be doing, contact your school. Even if you aren’t crazy about talking to someone on the phone, remember that your college gets a fresh batch of new students all the time and are used to answering all types of questions.

Once a college admits you, they will help you register, attend and graduate. There is almost nothing they haven’t been asked before, so don’t feel like you’re the only one asking a certain question. In fact, colleges have Student Services offices because so many students have so many questions. If you don’t know how to contact them, call the admissions office, and they’ll tell you how.

Talk to your family, friends and counselors who are there to help, even in the summer. There’s a ton of people at your college—your new home—who want to help you too, even though they haven’t met you. All you have to do is ask.

You can make this happen!