15 Things to Do the Summer Before Your Senior Year

The summer between you Junior and Senior year is here. It might be tempting to relax the summer away, but there is a lot you can do that will make your Senior year less stressful.

1. Decide where you want to go

Its time for an important decision: What are you doing after high school? Are you headed to college? Maybe a trade school? The military?

Start figuring out whether you want to go to college, a trade school, the military, or something else.  Research various careers, look at what starting and median pay is, whether you need to go to college or trade school, and what the unemployment rate is in that field.

If you're headed for college, continue on. If you think a skilled trade (like plumbing, HVAC, and electrical, welding) is where you are headed, click here. If you are interested in the military, click here.

2. Start researching colleges

Narrow it down to a "Top 5", and then plan college visits. Look at how they are rated for the major you want, but also at the campus culture.

3. Start researching scholarships

Apply for as many as possible. Its much easier to get a lot of little scholarships than one big one.

4. Start drafting your college essays

There's plenty of information online about what to write, and you definitely don't want to wait until the last minute.

5. Decide on two teachers to ask for letters of recommendation. 

You may not be able to ask over the summer, but be prepared to ask as soon as school starts.

6. Take any of the standardized tests that you still need to take. 

Starting early allows you time to try again if you have an off day.

7. Make a plan.

Make a calendar of the things that need to be done in the next year showing due dates. Start a filing system of all the information you need to keep track of.

8. Get a summer job. 

9. Do volunteer work

10. Read.

Read something for fun, read something meaningful. Read a biography of someone that interests you.

11. Learn how to budget and manage money.

Get a bank account and card and start small. If you have trouble managing money, it can get really expensive when you are on your own.

12. Learn ways to handle stress.

It could be a therapist, a regular exercise program, yoga, whatever works for you. Learning healthy ways to manage the stress that's coming will make your life more bearable (and improve your grades).

13. Learn some basic "adulting" skills.

For example, learn to cook some basic dishes, do laundry, check your car’s oil, and change a tire.

14. Spend time with your family.

15. Hang out with your friends and do something, or nothing.

Junior year was probably stressful, and senior year and college probably will be too. So take this time and relax.

16. Start planning your senior portraits.

Your senior portraits should be a special experience, and they should capture who you are as you head into your last year of high school. They should be more than just a quick shoot at the school with the same shots as everyone else.

Let the school photographer take your yearbook pictures, and let us plan out a customized senior portrait session that really shows who you are. Get images you will love to have hanging on the wall for years to come.

Get started planning - schedule your free consultation.


Mike Fox Photography has been creating senior portraits that parents and seniors love for 8 years.

As parents of three young adults, the youngest having just graduated, Angi and I have lots of experience working with seniors. We've been through the process of getting ready for "what's next " three times with our own seniors, and many times with friends. I hope this guide helps give you some ideas on how to spend this last summer before you graduate that not only get you ready for this next year, but help you build skills that make your experience more fun and less stressful.
I look forward to creating senior portraits you love.

Mike Fox