How Your College-Bound Teen Can Make it a Productive Holiday Break

College is an essential step toward lifelong success, but getting there doesn’t happen on its own. Huntington Learning Center says that too often, college-related deadlines have a way of sneaking up on students—but holiday break is a great time to revisit the college to-do list. The spring semester of the school year tends to fly by for high school students, especially those finishing up their senior year. For those with college on the horizon, it’s important to pay attention to all of the necessary deadlines and tasks. These next few weeks offer a perfect opportunity to get things in order and plan ahead for the months to come. 

Start working on the FAFSA. Seniors planning on enrolling in college for fall 2017 should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon after January 1 as possible. This application is your family’s avenue to receiving federal, state and college financial aid and the sooner you submit it, the better. Get started at

Register for Advanced Placement exams. Before school lets out, your teen should talk to teachers or the school’s designated Advanced Placement (AP) coordinator about taking any AP exams in the spring. In 2017, AP exams are scheduled for early May, so holiday break is a good time to start thinking about which exams your teen wants to study for and take.

Register for the spring SAT or ACT. For juniors taking the exam for the first time, now is the time to develop a study schedule for the February 11 or May 6 SAT and March 11 or April 8 ACT. Contact Huntington over the break to learn more about our 14-hour, 32-hour and Premier SAT and ACT prep programs.

Work on college applications. Seniors should use holiday break as a time to get going on college applications, as many colleges have application deadlines as early as January 1. At the very least, your senior should spend time working on some of the time-consuming parts of the application package, such as the essay. It’s also a good idea to write succinct but professional letters to teachers from whom your teen would like letters of recommendation, making sure to include a resume and list of accomplishments in each teacher’s class. When school is back in session in January, your teen can deliver these letters personally.

Visit local colleges. Although colleges are also on break, this might be a good chance for you and your teen to visit any colleges in your area. Walk the campus, stop by the admissions offices, explore the classrooms and reach out ahead of time to see if any tours are offered.

Holiday break is a wonderful time for your teen to recharge his or her batteries after a busy fall semester, but it also presents a chance to get ahead on that college checklist. At Huntington, we advise students to take advantage of every break they have from school and use that downtime to ensure they’re on top of everything they need to be regarding college. During the spring, things pick up significantly when it comes to college—from applying for financial aid to selecting a college. Encourage your teen to use this time effectively, so that he or she will feel more organized and ready to continue moving forward when school resumes in January.”


Article Topics

Stay in touch and sign up for our newsletter