May 5, 2011 | Suzanne Shaffer | 1 Comment The regular school year will be ending soon and summer brings thoughts of vacations, swimming and lazy days. But if you’re college-bound, summer is the best time to spend on tasks that can enhance the college preparation process. Use the time wisely and you can go back to school in the fall, ready to tackle the rigorous academic schedule. Test Prep Summer is the best time to spend on SAT prep and improving vocabulary. The CollegeBoard offers a daily SAT question of the day and you can use the summer to take some practice tests available online and in SAT prep books. Only a small percentage of SAT takers actually spend time on test prep. Improve your skills and score by devoting some of your free summer time to this activity. Scholarship Searches Scholarship research is a great activity to pursue during summer vacation. Look locally first; the public library is an excellent place to begin. Local scholarships are less competitive and often easily earned. Then you can expand your search online, using some of the more popular scholarship search engines. Volunteer Start volunteering in your community. A consistent pattern of volunteering each summer looks great on applications and shows colleges that you are concerned about giving back and using your spare time to help others. Get a job or start a business Summer is a good time to make some cash for that college fund and also demonstrate responsibility. Many teens actually go the entrepreneurial route and start a business: lawn mowing, babysitting, tutoring, etc. Take a summer school class Probably the last thing you want to do over the summer is take a another class. However, summer is a great time to get some of those requirements out of the way and open your schedule up in the fall to take some electives. Make some preliminary college visits Preliminary college visits are a good way to get a picture of different campuses and help you begin your college list. Visiting colleges in the summer isn’t the best time to get a clear picture of college life, but it’s a great time to wander around and explore the campuses. Better yet, schedule a visit on a family vacation so the entire family can see where you might be going to college. Explore iTunes University iTunes University is an excellent way for you to get an idea of what college courses might be like. It’s free and there is a wide array of subject matter to choose from. You can access it on your iPhone or iTouch or by downloading iTunes on your computer. Start or focus on a hobby Hobbies are great ways that you stand out from the pack on your college application. Colleges want students who are passionate about something and pursue that passion throughout their high school career. Summer gives you the opportunity to devote your time and energy to that passion. Spend some time on social media Spend some time on Twitter to follow some college tweets. Read some blogs from college students and perhaps connect with some on Facebook from the colleges you are considering. GlobalQuad.com provides a comprehensive list of college life and education on Twitter. Read Reading is one of the BEST summer activities to improve your academic success and expand your vocabulary. If you can, secure the list of reading that will be required for the next school year and read ahead. That will leave you time to focus on your studies in the fall, and you can simply review the books as needed. Even with this extensive list of summer activities, you can still find time to enjoy your summer vacation. It’s never too early to start the college preparation process. Get information about and online undergraduate program now!