Taking the Next Step: School counselor says summer a crucial time for college-bound students

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Some parents dread this moment, while others look forward to their children taking the next step.

But whether you're ready to let go or not, experts say summer is a crucial time for students headed to college.

Audra Jeffries, Counseling Director at Oscar Smith High School, tells News 3 with one month until the start of school, students should do what they can to keep their minds active. Even if it's just reading, working your brain can help get things rolling.

It's also important for college-bound students to make sure their class schedule is set along with their living situation: For on-campus students, do they know where they're living? Do they know who their roommate is? If you're living off-campus, do you have a parking pass?

It may not be a bad idea to see if there are any lingering scholarships or financial aid available.

“There’s not a whole lot of money left, but there still could be monies in house," said Jeffries. "The best option for a student would be to actually go, contact the financial aid office at the school they’re going to be attending and see if there are any monies available, work-study, anything that could possibly offset some of the costs.”

For students headed into their senior year of high school, Jeffries says now is the time to apply for colleges. Applications should be finished and sent by the end of October. The longer a student waits, the more money they miss out on.

Applying as early as possible can also reveal a missed requirement.

“If they find out there’s a class that they need, we can at this point still, as a counselor, get that into their schedule. That is something that has to kind of take place in the summer," said Jeffries.

Jeffries also says if a student hasn't taken the SAT or ACT by their senior year, it should happen as soon as possible.

She says the next SAT test is August 24 with a July 26 deadline to register. The next ACT test is September 14th with an August 16 registration deadline.

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