The last summer before your student’s senior year of high school is a critical time for college preparation. From taking college entrance exams to applying for colleges and private scholarships, your student has a variety of activities to complete that will help them stand out on college applications.

The actions your student takes now will help them get into the college of their choice, and potentially receive the financial aid and scholarships necessary to keep college costs low for your student and your family. To learn more about what Henderson State is doing to prepare high school juniors and seniors for the college admission process, check out

Throughout the summer months, your student should aim to check the following things off of their college prep to-do list.

1. Create a top 5 list of colleges and universities.

Your student should have a list of universities they seriously want to apply to and attend. You can help your student complete this task by helping them create a list of priorities. Do they prefer to be close to home or miles away? Do they want a diverse experience with more independence or a more structured environment? Answering questions like these will help your student compile their college application list.

2. Select a major.

We’ve all heard stories of students changing their majors several times throughout their college career or not declaring a major at all until junior year. Don’t let your student fall behind on their graduation timeline because they haven’t selected a major. Help them look through program offerings and make sure their favorite schools have their program of interest.

3. Take a trip to the campus town.

Summer is the perfect time for “mini-cations”. Although summer campus visits aren’t ideal for seeing what campus life is like, it’s always a good time to view the facilities and other options available to your student. Don’t forget to see what the town has to offer as well. From visiting local restaurants and stores to exploring nearby recreation areas, you and your student can make the most out of your campus visit by checking out all the town has to offer.

4. Volunteer!

Community service is a great way to spruce up your student’s college and scholarship applications. Admissions teams and scholarship committees both want to see that your student is well-rounded. Participating in community service organizations or events will definitely allow your student to stand out on applications. Many schools have community service organizations on campus, so if your student is excited about giving back while they’re in college this would be a great option for him or her to explore.

5. Research scholarships.

College is expensive. At all colleges and universities, college costs can rise continuously for your student and your family. From books and parking fees to entertainment costs, your student may need financial assistance. You can help your student look for scholarships at their institutions of interest and also within their own high school. High school counselors typically keep a full list of local scholarships in their office. Scholarships can come from your employer, your church and just about any organization in your community and state so work with your student to research these opportunities. Typically, students get the most scholarship assistance from the institution rather than private sources so make use of net price calculators and scholarship calculators to estimate your student’s financial need.

6. Check out summer camps!

Many colleges and universities offer camps for high school students during the summer months. For example, Henderson State has band, art, athletics and STEM camps on campus that allow students to enjoy learning and living on a college campus. This is a great way for your student to make themselves familiar with a campus to see if it could be a good fit for him or her.

Keiana Holleman is a freelance writer, marketing enthusiast and the current Digital Content Specialist at Henderson State University. She is passionate about social media, marketing, and promoting higher education to future generations.