Kaplan: students using summer months to become stronger college applicants

summer study

According to the results of a recent survey by Kaplan Test Prep, a division of Kaplan, Inc., many members of the class of 2012, facing an increasingly competitive college admissions process, are using the summer months to become stronger and better informed applicants for college.

"Because the upcoming college admissions cycle promises to be just about as competitive as this past one, it's important that students do the right things this summer to be as prepared and savvy as possible, from understanding what their 'must-haves' are, to putting together a compelling application that will improve their overall chances of getting in," Kate Froseth, executive director of K-12 and college prep programs at Kaplan Test Prep, said in a statement.

Key survey findings include the following:

  • 73 percent said they plan to research colleges online during the summer, investigating everything from how high they need to score on the SAT or ACT to how strong the athletics program is
  • 71 percent said they plan to visit a college campus over the summer (a visit to the college's Facebook page would also be worthwhile--Kaplan reports that 82 percent of college admissions officers say they recruit students on Facebook)
  • 67 percent said they plan to volunteer during their summer vacation
  • 63 percent said they plan to gain work experience this summer
  • 21 percent said they plan to take an enrichment course over the summer
  • 45 percent said they plan to read at least five books this summer
  • 18 percent said they plan to read at least 10 books this summer

In general, students are optimistic about the college application process--86 percent of respondents said they're confident they'll get into their top college choices, and 88 percent said they're confident about their friends' chances of doing so.

Similarly, 86 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with their academic performance during the past school year, and 84 percent said their parents felt the same way.

The survey of 912 high school juniors who had prepared with Kaplan for the SAT or ACT was conducted by e-mail in May and June of 2011.