Parent College Coach Tip #44: Don’t Waste the Holiday Break

holiday breakEven though it may be just a few weeks, college-bound students should take advantage of their time and use it for some college prep activities. Seniors especially can’t afford to waste precious time with regular admission application deadlines approaching with the new year.

Here’s my top 5 activities for the holiday break:

1. Search for scholarships

No matter what grade your student is in, spending time on scholarship searches should be their top priority during the holiday break. Set aside just a few hours every day to research and hunt for them.

2. Prepare for the FAFSA

If your student is a senior, this is the perfect time to prepare for the FAFSA that becomes available on January 1st for the upcoming fall semester. Remember: the early bird gets the worm and those who complete the FAFSA early are more likely to snag some of those merit aid scholarships and grant dollars.

3. Make an information gathering college visit

Winter break is a good time for college-bound teens to visit a college—any college. You can walk around campus and get a feel for what college life will be like. Since students will be on break as well, this visit should be for information gathering only.

4. Cross off some items on your to-do list

You are bound to have a list of to-do items related to your college search and or applications. Spend some time during the break working on the list. The more you get done now, the less you will have to do when you return to school.

5. Spend (productive) time on social media

The key word here is “productive”. While your student is on Twitter and Facebook, encourage him to do some scholarship searches and make some college contacts. He can research college Facebook pages and Twitter accounts and sign up on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is now focusing on adding student profiles and it’s a great place to network and meet professionals affiliated with the colleges your student is interested in attending.

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