Things to Do The Summer Before You Start College

Things to Do the Summer Before You Start College

You did it! You graduated from high school, and you have settled on your college home for the next four years. Now what do you do with your summer?! Here’s some from “Things to Do The Summer Before You Start College” written by Kristina Zhang, a Guided Self Assessment alumna. Beth Probst, Founder and CEO of At The Core, shares her two cents too.


Try to find a summer job! It’s always nice to have a little extra spending money in college to go out with friends or order take out-every once in a while. Also, work experience is now becoming more and more necessary to apply for internships.

From Beth…having a real job is a valuable experience–not just for the spending money. Students open checking/saving accounts and pay for gas. Families can discuss how “spending money” will work in college.

Also students can continue career thinking/engagement – like attending a local professional association meeting for a career area of interest, arranging three informational interviews with people who hold jobs of interest, setting up your LinkedIn profile, etc.

Create a Budget

Figure out your income and expenditures, and create a budget for the school year. This will save you lots of trouble and prevent you from running out of money early on in the school year. Talk to your parents to establish which expenditures they are willing to contribute to (food, books, travel, etc.), and find out what you will need to pay for yourself.

Join a Gym

There is no exaggeration when people talk about the Freshman 15. Develop good eating and exercise habits in the summer, and try to maintain those during the school year. Stress from schoolwork and the freedom that college offers is a combination that can easily lead to bad living habits. Try to curb these bad habits by establishing a routine during the summer.

Organize Your Schedule

If you did not already organize your schedule in high school, make sure you start now. In order to get the most out of college, you will need to keep track of your classes, extracurriculars and campus events. Try to find an organization system that works for you. For me, it’s a small notebook I carry everywhere. For others, it’s an app on their phone or post-its on their nightstand. Find out what you need to stay on track. Plan out your summer activities, and get used to the independence. College is a careful balance between freedom and obligation. Staying organized is the first step to success.


Read that classic novel that you’ve always wanted to read or read that new bestseller that everyone’s talking about. I guarantee that it will somehow become a conversation starter or topic at some point during the year.

Learn How to do Laundry

If you don’t already know how, learn how to do your own laundry. Other useful skills include: cooking, washing dishes, and sewing.

From Beth…Lots of skill building opportunities. What do I know I need to work on? Organization? Excel? Time Management? Reading faster?


Try to reduce the number of material possessions you have. This will make packing for college and staying organized in college much easier.

Spend Time with Friends and Family

Last, but not least, make sure you spend some quality time with your parents. Going to college is a huge moment in life. The summer before college may be the last time you consider your home your permanent address. Spend time with those you love, and visit the people and places that you cherish.

From Beth…Agree! Downtime is important too. 12 years of school needs to be celebrated….before the next chunk starts.

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©2014 Kristina Zhang for At The Core LLC