Avoiding the Summer Slide (and College Prep Work, too!)

Unfortunately, the “Summer Slide” is not a dance. It’s a term used by educators to describe the very real phenomenon of students losing academic ground over the summer as they use their brains less vigorously.

For students who plan to take the SAT or ACT later this summer or in the fall, or who want to start off strong in their classes, the Summer Slide can put them at a disadvantage.

This is likely more important this year after an extended time with virtual learning during COVID. Your child does need time to recharge this summer especially, but things will go more smoothly in the fall with some preparation now.

So here’s an easy remedy: Read!

Encourage your children (of all ages) to read as much as they can. Some may already have assigned reading from school, but reading can also take the form of pleasure novels, magazines, etc. What matters is that they read regularly.

Some students may also benefit from starting up with math or writing tutoring later in the summer to review what they learned last spring and preview what is coming in the fall. Those who struggle with organization and study skills may benefit from work with an academic coach over the summer as well.

For those motivated to work on their own, here are a few ideas/resources:

Khan Academy: You may know that Khan Academy now offers free SAT prep. It’s also a great place for students to work on various topics in math, science, computing, humanities, art, and economics.

Free Rice: Free Rice is a terrific site that also covers a wide range of subjects (math, vocabulary and grammar, sciences, humanities, geography, foreign languages, etc.). It is fun to use and correct answers donate grains of rice to third world countries!

Explore Interests: Summer is a perfect time to have your child try something new and discover what they are good at, what they like, and what they hate. Whether it is a part-time job, volunteering, or a home-based project, everyone should be doing something in the summer that will help them learn more about themselves as well as build responsibility, independence, and self-confidence. Your child may need your encouragement if they have not yet found something to dive into on their own.

Job shadow: Summer is a good time to have discussions about what your child finds interesting and then seek out an opportunity for them to do some shadowing to learn about a particular field. Try asking friends and neighbors if your child can spend a few hours at their workplace or at least have a conversation to learn more about that field of work.

Finally, for rising seniors, there is college prep work to be done!

  • Complete a list of colleges to apply to in the fall / winter
  • Schedule additional college visits as needed
  • Prep for and schedule interviews as appropriate
  • Decide if additional testing is needed (if so, schedule summer or fall tests and continue test prep)
  • July – Complete the personal statement for the Common Application
  • July – Complete an Activity Resume if you have multiple extracurricular activities to highlight
  • August – Fill out the Common Application and upload the personal statement
  • August – Look for any supplemental essays that your colleges have posted

Believe me, come this fall, your child will be very happy to have completed this work in the summer! (You will be too.)

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