Do you remember the first day back to school each fall in elementary school?  How many times did you write the, “what I did for my summer vacation” essay?  At my elementary school, this was the “go to” assignment for teachers who were struggling themselves with the return of the school-year and the reality that their days of lounging on the beach were through.  For USPA students, often summer does not mean a “vacation,” as camps, competition and travel ramp up.  Regardless, here are some tips for the summer months on the college admission front:


  • Write the essay. As you plan for the next two months, imagine what you would

want to say for the “what I did last summer” paper.  Set goals for not only your athletic competition but also for how you want to use this time personally.  While you are in the writing zone, take a shot at drafting a few college essays.  You will thank yourself when you get to the fall of senior year and you have lots of material to work with!


  • Visit colleges. No matter what grade you are in, make a point to visit college

campuses in your travels this summer.  Visit a large school, a small school, a urban campus and rural campus in different areas of the country to begin to get a sense for what feels right for you.  Do an official tour and information session so that you get in the school’s system and get the “points” for having visited if you end up applying.


  • Contact coaches. It is never too early to start connecting with college coaches.

While the NCAA sets restrictions on the coach’s ability to contact you directly, you can certainly be in touch with them and get on their radar.  If you are going to visit a college campus, send the coach an email and see if you can stop by their office and meet them.


  • Get involved. College admission offices are going to want to see that you have

grown as an individual beyond your academic success and athletic performance.  Be thoughtful about your other activities and interests.  Many student-athletes have limited time even in the summer for other pursuits.  Find ways, however, to explore other passions and show dedication to personal growth.  This could mean a summer job or mentoring younger students.  Be creative and be authentic.


  • Test Preparation. I know…the last thing you want to be doing this summer is

studying for the SAT/ACT.  Standardized testing is an unfortunate reality of college admission, and along with GPA, will often determine how actively a coach/college pursues you as a candidate/player.   Whether you use USPA’s test prep, a private tutor or simply sit down and take practice tests on a routine basis, make sure you devote some time to this necessary evil.


Finally, when you write that, “what I did last summer” essay, make sure you have written in at least a paragraph of fun, relaxation and time spent with family and friends, Happy summer!

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