School's Out - Now What?
That said, there are a couple of things you can do during the summer to be prepared for fall deadlines.
The summer is a great time to start researching which colleges you want to apply to in the fall. Think about what features are important to you in choosing a school, and make a list of schools that appear to meet your criteria. If your family's schedule and budget allows, try to visit at least two of the schools on your list. Sometimes just walking around a campus can help you discern whether or not the school is a good fit for you.
SCHEDULE YOUR SAT/ACT TEST
It's better to take the SAT and / or ACT early in the year. If you are not satisfied with your results, you leave yourself time to take the exam again before applying to colleges.
GET A JOB OR HOBBY
If you aren't already working or involved in some type of volunteer work or sport, you can take advantage of summer to add work, volunteer, or sports experience to your college application resume. Schools want well-rounded students, and applicants need to demonstrate that they have interests beyond the classroom.
READ AND WRITE
Make a goal to read 3 books (or 10 if you are already an avid reader) about anything. The books do not need to be academic. Just keep your mind active and engaged. Since you are going to have to prepare a college application essay in the fall, practice writing in the summer. Write anything - a journal, a blog, letters to your grandma. Anything.
ARRANGE YOUR LIVING SITUATION
Most schools assist you in the process, requiring freshmen to live on campus. They try to match roommates based on a questionnaire about studying and sleep habits. If your school assigns you a room and a roommate, contact your future roommate(s) during the summer. If you introduce yourself early, there is the opportunity to arrive already friends (or at least friendly).
In the unlikely event your early correspondence with your roommate suggests it would be harmful or unsafe for you to live together, it is better to alert the school with a room change request now, instead of in the fall.
FIGURE OUT YOUR COURSES
The course catalog is online and you will have to sign up for classes in August. Get a sense of what programs you want to pursue, and the courses required for each. If you are really ambitious, you can always look up course syllabi from past semesters and start some of the reading over the summer. Email the professor to find out if there are any changes to the syllabus if you are worried about doing work for no reason.
FIND AN INTERNSHIP
Think you are interested in pursuing a Journalism degree? See if a local newspaper will let you intern for the summer, so you know if you want to make Journalism your major. Note that internships are not paid, so if you desperately need money...
GET A JOB
College is expensive. Even if your tuition is taken care of, you will still want extra cash for clothes, snacks, sports equipment, going to the movies, dates, and trips with your roommates. If you are paying your way through college, make getting a job top priority.