Get ready for application season: Using your summer wisely

If you’re pursuing the arts at a collegiate level, you know that college application season is going to be a busy time for you. Between visits, interviews, applications, portfolios, auditions, and (gasp!) final decisions, the life of a soon-to-be arts major can be crazy. It’s easy to think of the summer before your senior year as a time to relax before the craziness. And while you can definitely still enjoy some pool time, there are a few easy things you can do during the summer that will give you a huge head start in the fall.

Visit some colleges

Your entire college search process will be more successful if you have an idea of where you want to go before the application season gets into full swing. Use your free time this summer to get a feel for the different types of arts colleges there are out there: big state schools, small private institutions, conservatories, and the many options in between.

Go to a camp/summer program

If you have a week or so to spare, you should find a camp in your discipline or one in the arts in general. Spending time at an arts camp can help you feel more confident going into the application season. Not only will this help you prepare for a college-type atmosphere of staying away from home, but you’ll also have a great experience to talk about in interviews.

Apply for scholarships

Applying for scholarships can give you practice finishing applications by a deadline, but more importantly they can give you money. Most colleges will offer some kind of financial aid package, but a little extra help never hurt anybody. Take some time over the summer to research and apply for scholarships, both arts-specific and more general. Knowing what kind of funds you’re working with can definitely ease the stress of the application season.

Take standardized tests (ACT/SAT)

This is something you don’t want to put off until the last minute. Common wisdom is that the more times you take these tests, the higher your score will be. And while it’s easy to think that talent and passion are bigger factors during application season for art programs, test scores are still really important. If you’re worried, the summer is a perfect time to take a practice test.

If you’re pursuing the performing or visual arts at a collegiate level, you know you’ve got your work cut out for you in the fall. Application season can be stressful, and it’s tempting to just use your summer to relax. But doing these four little things can help set you up for an easier fall and a more successful application season.