Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: “Holiday breaks can be fun and productive!” How is that possible, you ask, when you’ve got a mile-long list of tasks, a full social calendar, AND itchy Facebook/Xbox fingers?!
OK, now that the mini-panic is over, let’s just take this one step at a time…
1. Start your résumé.
Yeah, yeah, we know. But seriously? You don’t have to write the whole thing over break. Baby steps. Search Google Docs and Word for formats that reflect your personal style. Save ‘em, and then set reminders to tweak and update down the road.
2. List some schools.
Make the list as long as you want, and include as many “safe bet” (and even “in my dreams”) schools as you’d like. Factor in location, possible majors, and extracurricular interests, and then jot down schools that fit the bill. You can whittle later.
3. Visit campuses.
If a school on your list is nearby-ish, why not hit them up and get a feel for the area? Super secret tip: College towns are famous for their abundance of diverse (and cheap!) restaurants, so call it a road trip for sushi/burgers/saag paneer—whatever helps make the trek feel more like fun and less like research.
4. Watch movies.
For serious. Taking a big life step calls for getting in the right mindset, so queue up a few classic college-themed movies and start getting excited about college life… or at least the Hollywood version of it!
5. PIN it!
Little double-entendre there, folks. See, you can start the inevitable FAFSA process by requesting a PIN number. And while you’re at it, why not use photo-driven social media to keep track of the dorm décor and college advice sites that inspire you? After all, sharing is caring.
6. Start a dialog.
One of the most crucial (and, ironically, easiest) things many college-bound students forget to do is engage the people closest to them. Even if you forego everything else on this list, use the holiday break for its intended purpose—connecting with friends and family and bringing them on board with your plans for the future. You’ll be glad you did.